Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life: A Gift

As I ponder my birthday and celebrate another year that has swiftly come and gone, I am grateful for life.  I am happy to have another birthday.  I am elated beyond expression. 

Easily with different choices, my life might never have come to be. 

I've said that I am blessed to be the youngest of the ten children born to my parents. 

I remember mother telling me how cute she thought her first baby was when he came into the world on Christmas Day all those years ago.  It seems I still hear the tone of her " mother love" coming through her words.  She had a plethora of cute stories telling the capers of her first born.  She would laugh as she told it as though it had simply happened earlier that morning.

After about three years the cute big brother had a darling baby sister and early one morning after her birth the phone rang.  When Daddy answered, I was told that Papa (my daddy's dad) said to daddy, "Now Gordon, you have a boy and a girl. That's enough.  Stop there!"  They chose not too.

Their fourth baby, a boy, was stillborn after mother suffered a tragic hemorrhage, nearly losing her life as well.  Interestingly enough, baby boy number four, isn't counted as one of the 10.  He makes our sibling total 11. He was quietly and lovingly referred to as the baby that didn't live.  Mother and Daddy always said they had 5 boys and 5 girls.  This may seem strange in today's culture.  I know times have changed and the way loss is acknowledged and expressed  is different.  However, I suppose, this is one of the ways they taught us to be careful and respectful of the private and intimate things of life. As I remember it, mother said the doctor told her not to have any more children, but they wanted more.  

AND so they had more.

Seven more.

Mother said she was amazed how each person in the family loved each new baby and God always provided for their needs as their family grew. They were criticized, but they chose their family.

Mother LOVED her babies.  She bathed us and fed us and hugged us and kissed us and prayed for us and taught us to work hard and be strong and realize that today may be difficult and discouraging but tomorrow will probably be better.  She was gentle and discerning and taught us to be kind.  Daddy LOVED us.  He was strong and faithful and consistent and wise. He was serious and stern.  He provided for us and prayed for us and taught us to work harder than hard and work as a team and OBEY. Mother and Daddy set an example of selfless love and caring for their family and those whom their lives touched.
I love my siblings deeply.   I can't imagine life without ALL of us. Each one of us brings a unique detail to the tapestry of our family with our strengths and weaknesses.  The ebb and flow of life pulls us and stretches us to be more together than we can be separately, forming a woven bond of unity and family.

I never expected birthdays to begin to happen so quickly, but I'm happy to have one every.single.time. it pops up!  It's fun to have a birthday.  No,  I'm not gonna moan and groan about another birthday.  I'm gonna be happy and celebrate it.

 My birthday is my parents gift to ME every single day of my life!!

From the depths of my being I am grateful.

I have struggled with words to share my thoughts from deep inside. This is something I have pondered across several, yes, many years.  They chose life and without their choice of life I would not exist.   I don't want this to sound egotistical or cliche. 

With deepest sincerity, I feel this.  I am blessed beyond measure. 

At times it is almost more than I can comprehend.  I carry the burden of not squandering the days they gave me.  I want to live wisely and carefully.  I want to live with joy and happiness.  I want the days I live to be filled with meaningful moments for myself and others.  Of course, I've had those hot stinging tears of pain, or of misunderstanding and hurt and loss or frustration and discouragement mixed with fear and uncertainty.  However, at the end of the day, there is deep deep peace and joy.  I trust THAT is my identity, not my age. 

And so yep.  I just celebrated a birthday.  I suppose you would say I'm a year older.  More than anything though, I want to be a year wiser and more mature from the lessons I've learned and the challenges I've faced.  I want to be discerning of my role in the world around me and to the needs of others.  I trust I'm more loving and kind from working through relationships.  And hopefully I am more settled in realizing that I am "me" because I am supposed to be "ME".

Celebrate your life today and be happy.  It was no accident.  You are you because you are supposed to be!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Soon to Be A Bride!

She was tall and thin, a precious breath of humanity, with sparkling dark brown eyes fringed with the longest of eyelashes.  Her smile was charming and her voice danced with cheer as she spoke.  She came home from college last week and called to see if I could fit her for a bridesmaid dress. 

When she stepped across the threshold of our front door she laughed as she spoke, "If you can take my size 18 prom dress down to a size 2, I know that this dress is going to be no problem at all."
As I took her measurements and pinned the necessary adjustments, we reminisced.  I told her I was looking forward to the day I would fit her wedding dress.  With a gorgeous expression, she said, "Hopefully that will be coming up soon!"  I felt a spark of joy inside, knowing that she will bring me shimmering fabric with just the right amount of rhinestones and sequins.  Then bittersweet emotions began to fold through the pages of my heart.   I've watched her grow from a young high school student as she left the awkward lines of adolescence behind and waltzed through prom seasons and snowflake balls and now friends who are becoming brides.  One day she will walk out my door carrying her wedding gown sized perfectly for her special day and I will ask myself if I will ever see her beautiful face again?

I am touched by so many lives.

I am blessed.

I pray I am faithful to the many people I encounter each day...
...my family first and then others.