Birthday Bashed

As a child I could hardly wait for my birthday to arrive. It was not just the presents, cake and ice cream (through they were good incentives too). Rather it was the sense of getting older – getting closer to that mystic time when I would be “an adult”, be “on my own”, make my own decisions.

So 6 + decades of living and I have a very different perspective. I don’t dislike them, but I do not rush headlong trying to push the clock to get there faster. I have come to appreciate (though not always treasure) the gift of this moment, here and now. Having spent a lot of my life waiting impatiently for the future I now realize I missed many precious moments of now.

I suppose it is when we begin to realize the finite nature of our time on earth – when we see the measure of days behind us so much greater in number than the ones we see ahead of us, that we want to savor them as much as we are able.

I sure savored my birthday yesterday. I worked in the office in the morning til early afternoon. Then Nancy and I took a walk and had lunch.  The rest of the day was spent quietly with Nancy reading, and talking. I got several cards, emails and Facebook greetings from family and friends. I was touched by how many sent wishes and greetings. I am rich in friends and acquaintances. For dinner, still full from our late lunch, I had one big strawberry shortcake and a glass of wine. Then a refreshing shower and to sleep. Not the kind of birthday bash I would have wanted as a teen or a young adult. But one as celebratory as any I ever attended.

I mused the other day that I don’t really understand how I got this old so fast. It really does not seem like a long time ago that I was starting out – and now I am talking adults (over 21) and parents of children  who were born in 1990 or in the 1980’s. I am becoming my grandfather while I still feel like a newbie to this business of becoming a caring, compassionate adult human being. I still needs lots of time to practice in order to get it right. And getting it right, I have learned, is to unlearn that childish sense of adult independence and self-determination with its values of power, status, and privilege, in order to relearn inter-dependence, cooperation and compassion. For it is with those child-like learnings we are prepared for the kin-dom of God with its primary values of love, caring and faithfulness.

Thank you my friends for your prayers and good wishes – I savor them for the rare treasure that friendship bestows in my life. I wish for you many days to savor, many friends with which to journey, and an unhurried day in which to celebrate YOUR life.

Don

About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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