It’s my birthday, and if you didn’t know that, it’s because you have been hiding under one of the last rocks on earth, where the leaflets I sent by carrier pigeon did not deploy their magical subterranean properties. I will do better next time.
It’s my birthday, my birthday is my favorite day of the year.
I don’t love it because it is a day to celebrate me. I love it because it is a day to celebrate, and because it happens to be specific to me, nothing and no one can get in the way of my celebrating.
No, I don’t particularly like celebrating me, although on last week’s podcast, I did take a sec to thank past me for investing in the discomfort of caring for future me (who is actually today me, but if this got confusing to you, skip ahead a paragraph or so.) The grit and determinaton of the me of a few years ago made my life today something altogether the stuff of fairytales: all without changing apartments, cars, husbands or children.
It all started in my closet when my youngest scalawag was a baby and I was overwhelmed and undershowered. That day I did one tiny thing which set me on a course for contentment and joy: I picked out the clothes that I would wear the next day. That’s it. That is what I am thanking past me for.
That one tiny decision led to other tiny decisions which seemed to be of little account at the time. But the abundance of tiny decisions created a hunger and a desire for progress. A kind of momentum of accumulated joy.
And that’s how we ended up where we are today.
I do believe that last year on the occasion of my birthday, I shared with you that each year since at least 2004, I have faithfully made it my mission to read and ponder the Psalm which corresponds to the age that I will have in that year. So…last year, I read and pondered Psalm 44 and freaked myself out because not everything in Psalm 44 was the kind of thing that I wanted to imagine happening at 44 years old.
Yes, Psalm 44 had things about being humbled and rejected, a reproach to our neighbors and being a byword among the nations. Do you remember this? I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the perspective on that year.
But here I am at the other side of that year, and some, although not all, of Psalm 44 resonates with my experience of this last year. Doubts, anger, feelings of reproach when perhaps there were none being made…
I’m glad it’s over. But wait.
I just read Psalm 45, and I gotta tell you, I’m loving what I have been given to ponder. Just read with me, would you:
Psalm 45: 10-17
Listen, O Daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father’s house.
The king is enthralled with your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.
The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift,
Men of wealth will seek your favor.
All glorious is the princess within her chamber;
Her gown is interwoven with gold.
In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
Her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you.
They are led in with joy and gladness;
They enter the palace of the king.
Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
You will make them princes throughout the land.
I will perpetuate your memory through all the generations;
Therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.”
You see why I like Psalm 45? There is a little confusion moment by moment about who exactly is being addressed at different points in this Psalm, but I love it that the beginning of this passage is directly spoken to a woman, who apparently, knows something about joy, and incidentally, has a few lovely clothes.
If that is all I have to look forward to this year: joy and gladness and oh, lovely clothes, that would be enough. But I love it, also, that it doesn’t leave the kids out of the story. Those boys whom I lovingly call my scalawags, and to whom, when I am feeling particularly sweet, will call “my princes” will take their place as solid, stable young men. What a promise!!!!!!!!
So, in keeping with my on-going pursuit of serving my family with joy, I have something to cling to this year. So many things to think about, to ponder, to contemplate, to re-read, to proclaim, to look forward to.
So…yeah. Happy Birthday to me.