Tag Archive | birthday

Birthday Reflections

My birthday started as I hit the ground running or rather stretching and exercising, trying to nip a back pain flare-up in the bud, and a couple of text messages with birthday greetings. After leaving the house for work a few minutes late I got stuck behind a semi-truck with engine problems. Thankfully, I had prepared our school breakfast items the day before so I was able to serve breakfast on time just a few minutes after I got to work.

My day was filled with pleasant surprises and experiences. I share a birthday with our principal. My friend and co-worker came bearing gifts (among them cake). A third-grade class made a birthday poster for me to post in the lunch room, two coworkers called to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. Our janitor walked through the kitchen whistling a happy birthday tune. Various students gave me birthday greetings as they came through the lunch line. One little guy, missing his front tooth, sang his unique version ending with, “happy birthday Therry”.

After work I made a quick stop at home to put my cake in the fridge and found a card on the counter from my husband. After weeks of Friday after-work appointments I enjoyed attending my Bible Study again. It was interesting to learn more about the cultural celebration of Easter compared to the celebration of the feast days established by God in the Old Testament and precisely fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament. Next I enjoyed a brisk walk through our little town to meet my friend for coffee (tea for me).

The evening capped the day with my favorite salad at the Nordstrom café, my favorite movie at home (Return to Me) and my favorite friend (my husband).

Accepted in the Beloved~

A few years ago I experienced a particularly discouraging difficulty with an overwhelming sense of rejection. Each morning I would hear that still small voice saying “you are accepted in the beloved.” Yesterday as I read the many birthday greetings received via social media and old-fashioned cards that same phrase came to mind. And I am grateful.

I am not super excited about the latest gift my aging body has given me along with aching joints and the need for reading glasses. But I am grateful for the perspective that coming through some life difficulties has given me. I am grateful for an increasing love for God’s Word and increased understanding. There is nothing more exciting to me than a good Bible Study! I am grateful for increased love and appreciation for my husband. I am thankful and blessed by the love of family and friends. God has given me the gift of peace and I am truly happy. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he (Jesus) hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:6

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A Far Greater Part of Our Future Than of Our Past

Remember Me (2)

 

There are times when an ordinary day becomes tremendously significant and profound comfort comes from a most unlikely place.

Seventeen years ago it was a crisp, beautiful Saturday like today.  My husband was at his regular early morning tennis match, my soon to be 9-year old daughter was nestled comfortably in her bed.  I  was excited about the day.   On the kitchen counter was a decorated birthday cake prepared the night before for my daughter’s birthday party to be held at the local swimming pool that afternoon.  On the table were  the preparations for a morning baby shower to celebrate my sister’s 10-day old son.  The plan of the day was fun, life affirming celebrations!  But nothing went according to my plan.

Something was horribly wrong.  My quiet, well-planned morning quickly became paramedics pounding on my door, my pajama-clad daughter being shuttled by strangers to the next-door neighbor and an ambulance transport to the hospital for an emergency C-section.  There would be no sibling rivalry, no dad coaching his son’s little league team, no cousins playing and growing together.  No 17-year-old son doing whatever they do regarding their mom.

JaredA couple of months ago, before she returned to college, one of the things my daughter wanted to do as a family was visit her brother’s gravesite.  In our little somewhat yearly ritual we look at the gravestone, clear off grass and any other debris and think about what might have been and what might be.  We look at the other grave markers and take note of the dates and the families and allow a little stab of pain to enter our hearts as we see new markers have been added and know the pain others have experienced.  This time though, a phrase on one of the markers caught our attention and spoke profoundly to our hearts.

Future Hope (2)

We pondered that last phrase and considered the truth of it.  He is a far greater part of our future than he is of our past.  The pain of the past, the emptiness of the present is nothing compared to the joy and gladness we will know in the future.  We grasp at straws to extract as much meaning as we can from the seven months and nine short hours that our Jared lived with us on earth.  Throughout each passing year we remember at odd and sometimes unexpected times this person that we did not have the opportunity to get to know and wonder, as the Kenney Chestney song says, “Who You’d Be Today.”   But our eternal future stretches unendingly before us filled with promise and hope.  A hope that we are assured will not make us ashamed or disappoint us.  A hope that serves as the anchor of the soul.  And he’ll be there.

We miss the good that we imagine would have accompanied Jared’s life with us here.  But this world is filled with pitfalls, and I have spent sleepless hours praying for my daughter, concerned about her well being, wondering about her future. I admit, I have not had one anxious thought about my son’s well-being.  I have not said one prayer for his safety or his future.  I have perfect assurance that he is in good hands and immune to the dangers of this mortal life.  His mortal has already put on immortality.

Parents want their children to be remembered.

Parents want their children to be remembered.

This grave marker also struck me because the parents put “Remember Me” at the top of it.

That was such a large part of my grief, thinking no one would remember my child.  How could they?  They wouldn’t even know he existed.  That is why I chose “Zachary” for his middle name.  Zachary means God remembers.  That is why I wrote a book of poetry expressing my grief and God’s comfort following our loss and called it “God Remembers.”

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I am grateful for these other families and their silent encouragement to me – left on the markers remembering their child’s short life.

It was a blessing that day to be reminded that my eternal future is a much larger part of me than this earthly existence.  And that my son is a far greater part of my future than he is of my past.

 

A Life Well Lived

orchids

A life well lived is measured
Not by days or months but years
A life well lived is proven
In the laughter and the tears
A life well lived is filled
With that which money cannot buy
Faithful service, future hope and
Love’s contented sigh
Persevering, interceding
Through challenges round the bend
When I think of a life well lived
I think of You dear friend