During this birthday month, I have focused on gratitudes such as: Sabbath beauty, family, my son, my daughter-in-love, sunshine and light of all kinds, friends, books, and food.
But this particular post is being written on my actual birth date in a favorite coffee shop. Being alive and being here brings more gratitudes to the surface:
- A cup of creamy chai tea
- My birthday treat – a gluten free pumpkin bar with smooth cream cheese frosting
- A favorite hymn that circles through my soul, Great is Thy Faithfulness. Indeed, Lord. You have given me another year of life. Another year to help other writers birth their words.
- Greetings from family and friends that color my cell phone and Facebook account.
- The cards I received, displayed on the piano to enjoy throughout this month
- A treasured piece of dark chocolate to melt on my tongue
- The happy anticipation of watching the Chiefs’ game tonight. Go Chiefs!
- The image of an oak tree I saw as I drove to this coffee shop. Its leaves inviting autumn with a blend of early purple and orange.
- My divine companion always inside me and with me.
Today I am especially focused on life, because death is very present. The news is filled with the atrocities of Hamas and the retaliatory strikes from Israel. The numbers of the slain increasing each day with no respecter of persons: grandmothers, babies, pregnant mothers, and a multitude of sons.
Plus, in our family — this October has signaled more goodbyes:
- My mother’s best friend, buried next to her until Jesus comes back and releases both of them from eternal sleep.
- An uncle, not much older than I. A Navy veteran with a friendly laugh and an appetite for all the sweets farm wives bake so well. Thus, his lifetime struggle with diabetes. Buried next to his parents, my grandparents. The family plot growing with each memorial service. Fewer of us left to attend.
- A lovely friend who attended our church when my son was young. A woman who bravely fought breast cancer and completed her bucket list. Living with gusto and a huge smile, no matter where she traveled.
They say “three” is the miserable number for consecutive funerals. Maybe my personal deaths will ease now. Until the next cycle.
Who knows how long the deaths will continue in the Middle East? Until diplomacy replaces anger? Until saner minds join together to find the road to peace?
But death reminds us of the precious treasure we have to live. A gift to be honored. To be respected. To be protected.
I embrace the gift of this day, surprised that I have lived so many years. Nope. Not going to reveal my age. But I readily admit I had no inkling I would live this long.
So many biblical scholars assured us Jesus would return and snatch us to heaven during WWII, the turbulent 60s, 1988, Y2K, after 9-11, and now with the homeland of Jesus embroiled in another war.
The scholars were wrong. No one knows the times or the end of time. Least of all, me.
But what I DO know is that waking up each morning with a purpose is a gift. Walking through my days helping others gives me significance. Writing my own words and posting them here creates an impact.
So as I sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to myself and finish the crumbs of my birthday treat, I thank God for life. For however many more years have already been determined for me. And for the eternal home that will someday be mine.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
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