The Privilege of Being: Happy Birthday to Me

I turned 55 this morning and it feels amazing. I am so blessed as a wife and mother, a daughter, a friend, a neighbor. birthdaycandlesI’m feeling swamped in love and light, today. I had to run out early to have my car inspected and every single person I encountered, at the garage and at the bakery across the street (yes, I got myself an almond-paste crescent that was delicious), opened doors for me, let me go ahead in line, smiled. The lady at the bakery gave me my treat for free. When I got home, there were presents on the dining room table and a card from my husband. (My daughter couldn’t wait and gave me my gift on Sunday.)

I really think I’m experiencing all these gifts because I’m using Susan Tassone’s book, “Thirty-Day Devotions for the Holy Souls,” and the graces are just pouring down into my life through the intercession of our suffering holy ones in purgatory. One of those graces is that, when I got down on my knees, this morning, looking out the kitchen window and up into a wind-swept sky streaked with clouds, the impact of this great gift of simply existing filled my being. Imagine: God thought of each one of us individually, and out of his heart we emerged. What an unspeakably precious gift it is to be.

I immediately thought of Psalm 33, verse six, which describes God speaking the heavens into existence and breathing out the stars:

By the Lord’s word the heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth all their host.

DadNext, I thought of my dad, who died a few years ago from complications from Parkinson’s disease. He seemed much older than his 81 years, by the time the disease had robbed him of his strength and even his ability to communicate. He was a Vietnam veteran, a faithful Catholic father of six, and a man of deep faith. I miss him so much and feel such gratitude on this beautiful Veterans Day for his service to our country. He was a wonderful man. You can read the eulogy I wrote in his honor, here.

Every man and woman who has ever served our country has my deepest gratitude, today, as well. On this day of remembrance, those who gave their lives, health, wholeness for our sake are uppermost in my prayers.

Here’s what Jesus has to say to these brave, honorable children of God:

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

I’ve been reading Lisa Hendey’s beautiful new book, “The Grace of Yes,” and she talks about this in Chapter Two: The Grace of Generativity. She speaks movingly of her friendships and what they mean to her, but urges her readers to consider the value of the people we love, beyond what they provide for us:

Instead of standing in awe of the friends I named above for the simple fact that they are of God, his beautiful creations and an image of his divine love, I err by reflecting on our relationships as though through a mirror, aimed squarely at my own ego. (p. 31)

Let’s reclaim the moniker friend from a simple action on a social network and turn it into a decision, a declaration, a sacred mission. (p. 34)

I’ll end on that beautiful thought.

I thank you for befriending me by reading these few words on this beautiful day, and I offer a heartfelt prayer that on this day you will experience the love of Jesus in two ways: by offering your love to someone and by experiencing gratitude for the gift of your precious life. You are unique, you are unrepeatable, you are loved and willed by a good and infinitely beautiful God.

God bless you!

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