Tuesday, March 13, 2018

By Birthday- In Closing

        I've now been alive for 40 years. That's 21 years longer than my expected expiration date. I think some people would have made it shorter. To them, I say, "I see your point, but here I stand." I was always a fighter, even when I didn't think so. When thrown under water, infants instinctively hold their breath and survive. But today isn't about all of that and anything that happened then.

Today is about now.

        I think I've seen both sides of the mountain. At least the heights and depths God has allowed me. I stand. I stand both proud to a fault, and broken to extreme. But I stand here, not surviving, but thriving. I am full and happy and excited to start that climb over the next 40 years. I'm excited about my wife. I'm excited about my kids. I'm excited about my family: both blood and chosen. I'm excited about my friends. I think the rest are just details of life.... a means to an end of something else.

        I think the excitement of all of those people that matter are a reflection of a very present and able God. Those who are here, are because He put them here for a reason, and vice versa.

        The wife threw me a birthday party last week. A surprise. And what a surprise it was. I walked into a room expecting to see people that were there to celebrate a dear friend's birthday, but instead, I walked into bewilderment. Everyone shouted surprise and I didn't get it right away. I looked around the room and saw people that I love from all over. People from every corner and history of my life. People from church. People from my childhood. People from right now. People that have always been with me.

        We spent the night singing songs and talking and laughing and I wanted to cry the entire time. My heart was spilling over. Sometimes you forget how much you love people and how much they love you, until you see them show up for you with their arms open. I hugged my wife for what she had done. What she had done to so important to me, and she knew it...that's why she did it.

        I've been in darkness for a bit, sorting it all out. Making baby steps both backward and forward. I think I forgot that I am someone that still means something to someone. I thank my wife and the rest of you for the reminder that I am more than what I have thought of myself for the last several years.

But again, they always come back. My brothers gone.

        I think they always will and don't ever want them not to. Every happiness is a little bit empty. Nearing the end of the night, I hugged my sister as she was leaving for home hundreds of miles away. She started crying for the same void I was trying to hold at bay. There were two people that didn't show up. Two that didn't think ahead before they made decisions that there would be emptiness without them. We hugged tightly, then parted. I told myself as she walked away to keep it together. This isn't about who or what used to be. This is about now. And right now, most of my favorite living people were in one room to celebrate with me.

       My wife softened the blow of turning 30. She softened the harder blow of 40. So much in fact, that I got sick of it being my birthday week and wanted to hear nothing more of it.  She is perfect to me. I think that it should be a reminder that I am perfect to God.



Thanks for reading...Z