Today is my 55th birthday, and as always I am grateful to be alive. Ten years ago last week I had open heart surgery, and I don’t believe my doctors gave me 10 years to live at the time. Ha, fooled them all!
Open heart surgery at 44 is a sobering experience, or should be, but in some ways it was freeing. I had always been afraid of death, and I discovered then that it is not death I’m afraid of, it’s dying. Big difference, truly
I am not thrilled about the process of dying at all- our culture treats dying badly, with secrecy and panic and extraordinary “treatments” meant to prolong dying, not enable living well until the end. In fact, I’d rather skip the dying part all together.
But having looked at death fairly closely, I realize that I am no longer afraid of being dead. My belief system centers around life tasks. We are given one or two life tasks when we enter the word, and we work on them on and off our whole lives. When we die, we somehow continue, with the same tasks- especially if we have not been able or willing to work on them in this life- or we get new tasks to do. For me, this explains why I seem to have worked on the same spiritual and emotional issues in so many ways and forms, over so many years, from so many angles and so differently during the various stages of my life.
This has become a bittersweet day. How can anyone let the day go by without remembering the terrible loss of life on 9/11/01? The horror of that day will stay with us forever, and with it, the horror of the wars that have now spun out of control as a response to this act of terrorism. There are some things we can never understand, just mourn.
As I have said before, I choose to continue to celebrate my
birthday on the 11th because not to would be to give the terrorists a piece of my life I am unwilling to yield. So why am I meditating on death? Well, actually, I’m not, really. As I said earlier I am thankful to She who has claimed me that I am 55 and still learning and growing and changing!
I know my big present, because it is sitting on the couch- a new printer, one that will actually work! Plus, we gave each other half a digital camera last weekend, and I will soon be able to post pictures- I am so excited! I already have the software installed; now all I have to do is figure out how to move them from my documents to my journal. And how to actually take a picture I want to post! (Just a note: We each gave the other half of the same camera, lest you are thinking about us wandering around with half a camera!)
My other big present will come later- I won a Judith HeartSong torch! (Judith HeartSong)I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. Her creativity and openness and courage and ability to love and share are quite inspiring, and I am thrilled to receive such a gift. It comes at a good time, too, perhaps to light my way as I work on how to continue to live and grow despite pain and depression. Often the universe does provide what we need if we are open to it.
Tonight, we celebrate at a local Greek festival, with good friends and baklava- what more could I ask for on a birthday?
Many Blessings to all,
torch by Judith HeartSong, of course!