Today is my birthday. I am 48 years old. There is that.
And, this day represents so much more–some of which I know; some of which I don’t. And for that, I am grateful.
I am grateful to be alive. Grateful to be incarnate, now.
I know that today marks my birth forty-eight years ago. In Evansville, Indiana, the first child to Elizabeth and Tom, granddaughter to Wendell and Margaret, Charles and Alyne. It also marks yet another birth of self–a new/ancient version of me that over time, reveals her Self in ever new ways. There have been many re-births over the course of my life. Today feels different. Like truth that has been unfolding since before the beginning of time.
I believe we are born with purpose. I believe that all life is purposeful. Part of the journey in discovering the purpose requires us to forget–like the splinter in the eye that generates enough irritation/tension/trauma to get our attention. To wake us up. To return us home to ourselves, choice after choice after choice. Because love requires choice. And with every choice we make, there comes power, responsibility, freedom. Each choice carries with it a single grain of sand and slowly–choice after choice after choice–there grows a place within us that becomes home.
There is a cost to this choosing. There is loss of beliefs; the loss of old stories that have kept us feeling safe and secure and comfortable; the loss of relationships; the loss of jobs and positions and roles; the loss of forms that no longer fit. It is not easy. It is not meant to be. This is the path of transformation.
This is life. This is love.
To support our forgetting, we are told that belonging is fitting in; that our value is based on others’ approval; that pain is a problem to be solved; that comfort is preferred to discomfort; that uncertainty and surrender are weak; that independence is a thing; that death is the end of life. We must choose otherwise. Perpetually.
At age 48, I know life. I know death. I know birth. I know love. I know freedom.
I celebrated the birth of the book yesterday in my home with friends and family and those who have gone before and with those who will come. We planted flowers and blessed this place, pulled out the family china, used the cut-glass punch bowl for homemade lemonade, messed up the kitchen, drank Black Girl Magic champagne, danced to Barry Manilow, hung decorations in unpredictable (and very strange!) places, laughed and cried, played ping-pong and X-box, sat in circle, shared sacred stories, touched on hard truths, sat in reverence to the sacred, welcomed it all, awed at the rain and then the hail, laughed that the police were called on our riotous gathering, made deviled eggs and cucumber salad and fried chicken and homemade cookies, planted flowers and blessed this place, and reveled together…
as life continues to birth me/us
into who I/we are becoming
in this ever-unfolding story.
And as a Post-Script, glad to share this sermon from my dear friend, Rev. Phyllis Spiegel who preached today on Unfolding, with connections and witness to the celebration yesterday. What a gift!
And, a poem:
There are days
that bring you to your knees, wailing
at the unimaginable beauty of life.
The purpose of each moment, each mistake, each triumph.
Every choice, every story, every body.
And everything else but the power of this very moment
leaving present only
the immediate and the eternal
raw humility and emboldened power
humanity and divinity
joined as one in the spiral of love.
This was one of those days.