Saturday, June 12, 2010


Summer seems like such a miracle.
I can't remember being so thankful
for sunshine and warm weather.
Chances are I was last year
but it seems impossible.

I wrote the above this morning
and then got on with my day.
Today was my birthday.
It didn't feel like it
which is weird
but it didn't.

I went to my home group meeting this morning.
I very clearly heard, or at least think I did,
from my HP this past week,
"You need to listen more (in meetings)."
For all I know I imagined I heard that
but it did come out of the blue when I was talking to God
about me in meetings and some troubling things
about myself that I see in relation to all that.
So I didn't call attention to the fact that it was my birthday
although someone in my home group gave me a birthday card
which was nice.

I spent the afternoon at a graduation.
As the sole support staff for this little school
I sat with all the teachers.
When I saw they were going to give out thank you gifts
I was confronted once again with my feelings of insecurity
around stuff like this. That I will be forgotten. It's an
insecurity that has its roots in my toddlerhood,
an incident that obviously still affects me.
One Christmas at my grandparents.
My older brother and my cousin are
running around the livingroom with new cowboy hats
and shiny new toy guns complete with holsters.
I tug on my brother's pant leg and ask where my gift is.
He stops firing off his gun long enough to tell me
I'm too small to get a gift.
I feel invisible.

This afternoon I worked through in a few minutes,
how I would feel if the students
had only bought gifts for the teachers.
I decided I wouldn't take it personally.
I asked myself if I would be okay and the answer was yes.
And before the teachers went up to receive their gifts
I reframed the whole situation as a gift from my HP
to work through this issue again.
I'm grateful I didn't freeze with panic.
That I was able to separate out today
from that day long ago despite the old feelings surfacing.

I wanted to tell one of my coworkers
that today was my birthday
but I recognized that this day,
the reason we were all gathered,
was for the graduates.
That if I mentioned it
she would get the whole crowd
to sing happy birthday to me
and I knew instinctively
that I needed to let this day
have its proper focus.

That was hard to do.
But, by the grace of God, I did it.

Those two things, the gift issue and the birthday one
might seem like little things
to some people.
But to me,
it's huge growth for me to sort and filter
and not let my ego run the show.
I know I'm not alone in this.
That most likely all of you struggle with ego, too.

I stopped at my sponsor's house on the way home.
Her partner is seriously ill with inoperable cancer
so I hadn't said anything to her about my birthday.
When she noticed my new silver crucifix necklace
I did tell her it was a birthday gift.
Stopping by to see her was my gift to myself today.
I usually do that every year. Do something for myself
that is a gift. We spent an hour together in a comforting
conversation. There is part of me that doesn't
want to walk with her through this time of her life.
It's too hard.
I also recognize it for the sacredness that it holds.

As we walked to my car she took my hand and
we walked hand in hand for a while.
I felt like a little girl
holding hands with one of my best friends.
It was very precious to me.
I know of no other woman I could be okay
to do that with.
Sometimes those little gestures
say so much.


Andrew said...

Happy Birthday!

Thank you for sharing this.

Robin said...

Happy, happy birthday. I know how important these things are. I really do.

Evelyn said...

It looks to me like you gave yourself many birthday gifts! Please consider your birthday celebration extended a day...... "HAPPY BIRTHDAY"!

Em said...

happy birthday :)

Owen said...

Belated greetings. God bless you and keep you in another year as you continue to grow.

Kathy M. said...

Thank you for a lovely post. It felt like a gift. My heart aches for the little girl at grandmas. I have so much respect for the woman she became. Happy birthday, Hope.

Lisa said...

I'll echo the others... thanks for sharing these things, and... Happy Birthday friend!

Black Pete said...

Your victory is a gift you gave to yourself.