My first born becomes 40 this week. We are both contemplating the years, how fast they have gone by, and the vast changes in our persons and our lives in four decades. We are similarly looking at pictures of that tiny baby who planned on arriving one month early. Her eyes were so big when she was an infant, and still large and full of wonder later when framed with pigtails—and wonderfully bright as she stood with her senior prom date, who would later become her wonderful husband. Her early years seemed effortless with a neighborhood posse of friends. Dance, violin, Camp Fire Girls, trips…there was no void of time and her community seemed an extended family.
Not every year was a procession of rainbows and unicorns. None of our lives are that way. But when we reach a milestone, it is the good times we want to recall and celebrate. Contemplating what changes us along our paths, when did we come to think about things the way we do, and come by the convictions we now have? What hardships identified and fortified our strengths? What experiences or relationships softened us and put us in the position of knowing, of better understanding our emotions?
I always used to ask my audiences to remember their funniest true story and tell it to someone that day. Tidbits of our history become favorites of our children and their children. It’s important to share aspects of our lives that made or make us happy. To be happy, to love, and to be grateful are the keys to a fulfilling life. To survive the lows helps us to better acknowledge and appreciate when we feel on top of the mountain. My daughter’s collage of photographs are just such a summary—forty years of smiles, funny faces, funny poses, graduation and wedding poses, holding her babies, and fun times with her friends and family.
Our lives are a compilation of days, of hours and minutes and seconds. Years ago I came upon a small book entitled, The Traveler by Daren Simkin. This picture book is a fable about a boy named Charlie, who had a nice life—but it wasn’t quite perfect. Spending too much of his time doing things he didn’t want to do, one day he packed up all his time in a suitcase and went off to find a better way to spend it. Traveling the world in pursuit of perfect things to make him happy, he comes home to find his time, all the while locked safely in his suitcase, has all but disappeared. He spends his final “itsy-bitsy seconds on his friends, he was loved. He loved. It may not have been perfect, but he was happy.”
Time can’t be saved so spend it on what you love! Traveling. Caring. Smiling. Playing. Laughing. Meditating. Dancing. Creating. Spend time doing what you love.
I think my daughter turning 40 this week resonates with the quote by Emily Zola. “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I will answer you, ‘I am here to LIVE OUT LOUD!’” And she does. She colorfully expresses herself, smiling, encouraging others, pronouncing bravery, neutralizing Voldemort, and proudly touting Captain America, and everything Colorado!
Happy Birthday, sweetie. Love, Mom
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- June 2016 Newsletter – Can We Restore Grace?