It’s my birthday. One week ago I woke up in a foul mood. It was a mood rife with I hate life and life hates me. I hated who i had been; I hated who I was; I hated who I would become. I began to believe my feelings were truth.
Thankfully I have people in my life who won’t allow me to wallow. (Things like “Snap out of it, ya big baby” might have been said by family members.) Sometimes you need empathy and other times you need to “snap out of it, ya big baby!”
So today I’m here to talk about 58.
What is 58?
It’s a massive thank you to a Mom who birthed me, nurtured me, and continues to love and challenge me in ways she will never know.
It’s a Dad whose memory is eternal; who lived life well until the day his body could no longer go on.
It’s four brothers who live around the world; who model tenacity, joy, and faithfulness to me and to their families. It’s four brothers who teased me mercilessly when I was little, and have my back now that I am older.
It’s four sister-in-laws who love well, who have raised amazing children, who continue to wrestle with the big and hard questions of parenting and faith.
It’s nieces and nephews who I would kill for; who are opera singers and nurses; diplomats and day care owners, who make the world a better place for you and me to live in.
It’s a husband who makes me laugh every, single day. A man who can make friends with an inanimate object like a wall and make that wall feel special, not to mention the people he befriends from around the world. A man who tells stories in virtual reality, prays for and loves his children so much it hurts, and will remember the names of refugees long after he has met them. A man who affirms my writing, challenges my faith, and prays with me every night.
58 is four (no five) adult children who are smart, passionate, and gifted. Who meet the challenges of life with stubborn resolve. 58 is the cutest grandson on ever earth who has a waddle toddle and is growing to be his own person.
58 is the dearest friends from here and around the world that a woman could ever hope for – friends who love the world and their families; who are not caught up in what culture says is worthy and instead fight for what is true, good, and right.
58 is cousins who live as far as Moscow and as close as Washington DC; cousins who are also friends.
58 is a creative job with often horrid bureaucracy; fighting for good healthcare for marginalized communities and pressing forward when it’s hard.
It’s colleagues who make me laugh hard, work harder, and allow me to get mad and cry.
58 is a body that sometimes betrays me, but responds pretty well when I treat it properly; it’s 10,000 steps a day because modern medicine allowed for a bionic hip; it’s wrinkles that I can only partially hide; it’s girlfriends laughing together because we never thought we’d have beards or boobs that hang to our knees. (The boobs that is)
58 is curling up on week nights and watching Stranger Things; it is knowing that grilled cheese served in candlelight with the man you’ve been through hell with is really great.
58 is a church community that I never thought possible; it is entering into Divine Liturgy with the blind, the lame, the deaf, and the troubled. It is working out my faith with a community of broken people, all desperately in need of the Eucharist.
It’s realizing that #metoo is no match for who I really am and no man can truly take away what God said is good;
58 is knowing in the depths of your soul that no matter what, you are God’s beloved and no amount of wrinkles, stretch marks, saggy boobs, or dementia will ever, ever take that away.
58 is you reading this and letting me know in a million creative ways that you care.
And 58 is a Mimosa, calls from Family and friends, and celebrating this thing called life — because tomorrow anything could happen.
58 is pure grace.
Also, I made a little video – watch it if you like!