"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Unexpected Gift


My birthday was earlier this week - Thursday. I love birthdays. Mine for certain, but mostly I just love the idea of celebrating the day someone came to be here and celebrating who that person is. I also love presents and cake and attention.

For a number of reasons, this year was not offering strong possibilities for any of those things.

We're on a tight budget. I'm on a sugar fast. I don't have a classroom or a workplace where attention is guaranteed.

This was also not a landmark birthday - two more years before the next one of those, thank God! Fifty-eight is not a number that excites me, although I do like the eight in it. And Thursday is not a day that speaks celebration necessarily.

I actually woke up Thursday and was in the kitchen before I remembered it was my birthday.

Here is how the day unfolded:

Walt honored the no-gift mandate, but made two cards of photographs - one of Toby and Emma and one taken of us on vacation this summer. And wrote sweet loving messages as he always does. And kissed me good morning in a way he hasn't for quite some time. And cheerfully sent me into a full day that didn't include him at all.

My middle brother Mark called as I was getting ready for class. We had a fun and satisfying chat at the end of which he told me he had written a blog post for me. The light of love in his words is so bright, I have to close my eyes from time to time to really be able to absorb it.

Carrie made sure everyone in class knew it was my birthday, led the singing, treated me to lunch and a sweet card and a gift. A lunch that was shared with a new friend who feels like a very old friend. During class an unexpected connection was made with a fellow student that has the potential to become much more.

For the first time in all our years together my time with my counselor fell on this day. It was a session full of celebration of all the gifts this year has brought already - gifts completely unconnected to my original goals. A stronger connection to Walt. A more peaceful home. A quiet but amazingly strong confidence and trust and faith in the face of lots of information suggesting I should be feeling otherwise.

From there it was coffee with a friend who started this path of seeking the light a little later than I did, and whose loving energy feels like a warm day out of season.

The day's grand finale was dinner and attending an author presentation with three friends - two of whom are brand new friends to me. We were an eclectic group, two attorneys, a doctor, and a writer. Laughing together about the fact that with all our collective education and ability we couldn't figure out the GPS on the loaner car we were in. Laughing at ourselves looking for row "G" and being told by a patient woman that the "G" stood for general seating. Laughing hysterically on our way home at our imitations of the author whose trademark "WooHoo!" and (to us) over-simplified recipe for achieving abundance were off-putting.

And finally home, to cards and phone messages and a husband happy to see me.

So, there were presents. There was even a cupcake from my counselor, which Walt enjoyed tremendously. I got lots of attention.

However, what I got this year that I've never felt before was the full experience of being loved. I know I've been loved, but growing up with love that always had a price attached made me wary. And the warier I got, the more I protected my heart from the pain of love withheld, the less I could feel. I felt loved every single minute of this amazing birthday. So loved in fact I was almost overwhelmed with it. I think, though, I will get used to this new feeling. It will become my new standard, as Carrie suggested. My heart likes her new freedom.

Who knows what magic and power will grow from the fertile ground of a heart finally fully loved?

photo from Flickr


16 comments:

Wanda said...

Happy Birthday, Deb. So glad I got to meet you. What a wonderful gift--the experience of this day.

Go Mama said...

"I felt loved every single minute of this amazing birthday...I think, though, I will get used to this new feeling. It will become my new standard."

That's got to be one of the most special gifts ever.

May it truly become your new standard.

Happy Birthday, Deb.

Lorna said...

"My heart loves her new freedom"; that made my heart leap. May yours leap and soar and enjoy her freedom unabashedly. And how lucky those souls around you are. Best.

Lorna said...

Oh, and Happy Birthday!

deb said...

Happy birthday. It sounds like it was a lovely day, made me cry. Maybe one day.

Amber said...

Aww, HAPPPPPPPY BIRRRHDAY!!!! I am thrilled for you that you felt so much love. May every year feel lik this one. :)

" I know I've been loved, but growing up with love that always had a price attached made me wary. And the warier I got, the more I protected my heart from the pain of love withheld, the less I could feel. "--
Umm, hello. You said tht so well.

:)

The Unbreakable Child said...

Happy Happy Birthday, sweet lady! (belated but here) x0x0x

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh Deb, that is amazing :) Happy birthday. I am sorry I missed it on Thursday.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Free and full heart to you all year long and beyond.

And a very special (if belated) happy birthday from my heart to yours!

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Happy Birthday! The best gifts are often ones that don't come wrapped in a pretty bow. Thanks for sharing your beautiful day!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I am thrilled to bear witness to the opening toward the new standard! : )

Love.

Love.

Love.

Kathryn Magendie said...

("And the warier I got, the more I protected my heart from the pain of love withheld, the less I could feel."--I so understand this.)

This made me smile, big and wide and happy -- I was laughing at "G" with y'all even though I wasn't there!

I love birthdays - they are special special days just for you


Happy Birthday to you
happy birthday to you
happyyyyy birthdayyyy deearr deebbb, HAppy BIRTHday TOOO yoUUUUUU......

(I'll be in Portland for 3 weeks next month! )

kario said...

I beg to differ: every birthday is a landmark birthday. Especially when the past year has involved as much change and growth as yours has.

I love you and I can't begin to express how happy I am that your day was so special. I hope all of this love continues throughout the week, the month, until your next birthday!!!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Who knows what magic and power will grow from the fertile ground of a heart finally fully loved?

It will be most fun to watch. Happy Birthday.

Pam said...

...I am a little late with the birthday wishes here Deb, but Happy Birthday and many happy days ahead.It sounds like you had a wonderful and very special day.

Jerri said...

I'm sorry I missed the actual day but add my love to the river of love flowing to and through you.

Happy Birthday, Dear One. This is a landmark year, even if it's not a round number.