Thirteen years ago my late partner threw me a birthday bash that was spectacular beyond imagination. I loved it. But my personal preference up to that point, and mostly since, was to ignore the day, or perhaps celebrate the marker with an extra teaspoon of sugar in my coffee. The wiser among you might detect the scent of denial in here. I won’t perform a complicated exercise in self-analysis other than to suggest that you’d probably be right.
This year, however, the planets aligned and dusk segued into dawn. Forgive me if that metaphor appears imprecise. But really: there was something new emerging from the invisible light, which I presume is sometimes called grace. Be that as it may, I still had to be reminded by my therapist that it wasn’t simply a Thursday, but that it was also March 7. “Ah yes,” I conceded. “It’s my 63rd birthday.” For some reason I was suddenly washed over with a sense of absolute calm, or maybe I absently turned and faced in an untried direction. I squinted my eyes and found myself able to see more clearly, if not also more deeply, into the shafts of dusty sunlight, which illuminated a handwritten page in the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians.
Forgiven were the discarded opportunities to have joy, and all the diminished birthdays. Forgiven were the wasted hours, the bitterness and the unnecessary loneliness. It was a new birthday day with an invitation to start again. The night was behind me and the day was dazzling. In the end I can only attribute this new way of seeing to the many hours spent with all the words of the “Good Book.”
I have duly noted that my 64th birthday is lounging on a beach somewhere in a relaxed climate. It will doubtless attempt to surprise in its usual way at a moment when it thinks I’m not paying attention. Whatever! I fully intend to meet it when it arrives with baskets overflowing with gladness and celebration. Furthermore, everyone is invited. Bring your own birthday and we’ll make a party.
As published in the April 2013 issue of "St. Peter's Press," the monthly newsletter of St. Peter's Presbyterian Church in Spencertown, New York.