Birthdays. Hah. A big deal when you’re a kid. A mile-post when you’re an elder. But, really, it seems self-absorbed to make a deal over them in my middle years.
Then birthdays like this year’s fall BAM on my heart.
I decided to be all dispassionate about this year. Sure, I could go to that conference across the state. Why not spend a birthday in Spokane? Sure, I’d help out on a workshop there. It’s about creativity in worship right? That should be fun. Yes and…the weeks before required hours of tracking down equipment, revising content, and doing the schlepp work behind any presentation. The night before the workshop we were up till 11pm. Catherine, my co-presenter, Nancy, a friend, & I threaded together little beaded creations — gargoyle talismans for participants to take away with them. (Why gargoyles? another story for another day)
“Hey I like this one,” Catherine, Nancy, and I said over and over. “This one looks like the Southwest.” “This one is sitting on a rock.” “This one keeps getting knotted up, but it’s going to be cool” “This one has my colors.” “This one shows off her little horns.” “This one took a while, but it was worth it.” “This one just makes me smile.”
Creativity takes her own twisty little path, then rushes in, like the Spokane Falls, a short walk from the conference site.
The workshops go well, with playful give and take. “What was God thinking in creation?” Catherine asked. “Maybe God said, ‘I’m pretty good with this light and dark thing. Maybe I’ll start there.'” Workshop attendees who jump in and swim deep. Such a satisfying day of connection, sharing, fruition. That night I’m surprised to remember my birthday is the next day. I kinda pat myself on the back: No need for a special hurrah, just enjoy the life you are lucky enough to live.
Then. 4:24am. Awake to a text from Chloe, my spunky stepdaughter who’s so pregnant you wonder how she walks. Her water has broken. “I think I’m going to get you a grandson for your birthday.” His name will be Rogan, a name that has waited 29 years in that family to be used.
Wow. A family birth on my birthday. Arise. Sit at the window facing the river. Breathe, following my own directions from the previous day’s workshop. “Let Ruah, spirit-breath from the beginning of creation move through you. Because indeed it does.” Send breath, strength, spirit to Rogan and Chloe and the team surrounding them.
IT IS GOOD.
Just as we had done in beading up the gargoyles, perhaps God bent over Rogan as his DNA formed its strings. “I like how this is coming together.” Perhaps even at my creation God paused and said, “This one just makes me smile.” Despite obstacles, kinks, and knots, the miracle of life, the love of the creator threads us together. Each one unique. Each one a gift to be shared. Ah life. I like how this one is coming together.