|Taken tonight--on the eve of my 56th Birthday|
Today I am 56 and I will love this year.
A friend once asked me why I write. I told her that there are two reasons. 1: I have to, or I’ll explode; 2: It’s the only thing I know how to do. I’ve done it since I was in second grade, and have consistently written all of my life.
Then she asked me this: “If you had to write one thing before you die, what would it be?” I thought long and hard about my answer. I thought about all of the things I should say, but I had a funny feeling this friend would see through all that. She knows me well.
Then it came to me—if I had only moments to live, I would write this: I have loved and been loved so much more than I ever thought was possible.
I was born into a family who waited for my arrival—my parents and grandparents loved me. They named me and cared for me and held me until I could walk, which I did, in safe quarters. I have four siblings—an elder sister, a younger brother, and two younger sisters—who I love and love me with the turbulent sibling love of continuous change and growth. Our family is a tree whose branches stretch for miles in opposite directions. I love them so much; we all love each other—despite our differences.
After my bumpy adolescence, I fell in love with a man who gave me a son. Despite love, the man and I split up, but I had custody of our baby—a son who I loved more than anything in the whole world.
Then I met Mario. That sentence…that phrase is the understated bliss of true love. He is my truest true, the man who loves me more than any human on this earth. Mario had two young sons, so when I fell in love with Mario, they were swept up into it. My love for Mario came with such pure passion that I was sure he’d never love the same way, but he did—and we got married (thank God). We became a family—my son, his sons, and a baby daughter we had together—and we became happy together.
Any mother can attest to that kind of crazy mother love—the moving ocean of bleeding love that swells out of you—it’s almost painful. I drowned in this powerful love, until I became a mermaid, a dolphin, a shark, an octopus, and an underwater volcano. This mother love is so vibrant that it scares me sometimes.
As we’ve grown, Mario and I have built friendships with people who have loved us and sustained us through drought and hardships. They have laughed and feasted with us during times of celebration. We have friends who’ve prayed with us, grieved with us, buoyed us up with their love when we were drowning, and celebrated with us when the disaster was finished and the sun came out. Friendships and love and encouragement…much more than I deserve.
And then there’s God, who is over all of this, my God who is faithful when I am faithless. His banner over me is love.
And this, as I look at it, is a simple offering. This is what I’d write about if I were dying. Look at me—I am the most ordinary person you could ever meet, and in my lifetime, I have loved and been loved more than one human being should be. And this is why—at 56—I will love this year. It will be a year of even more love.
Each time I blog, I start on a blank page, selecting “Blank” page from the selection that Microsoft WORD gives me. This suggestion shows a white page that I fill with characters like the ones you’re reading now. I call this writing. It’s what I like to do because from nothing comes something—a way to reach out and touch you! Here I am. I enjoy writing and these blogs are more than just a post or a share, they’re a piece of me, shared with you.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
in God I trust and am not afraid.
In God, whose word I praise—