I turned 32 last month!
And it was the buh-est birthday ever!
Seriously! Way better than my seventh birthday party when I spent the whole time in my room – no doubt deserved for bratty behavior – while my friends played ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey.’
Bryan made my favorite meal in all the world: cilantro lime marinated shrimp with honey chipotle dip, twice baked potatoes, broiled salt and peppered green beans, and for dessert, let’s not ever forget dessert, my mom’s fudge macaroon pie. I could have died after that meal with no flavor regrets!
After the wine glasses were washed, the table wiped down, after the boys were smooched goodnight, Bryan gave me this:
Better than anything store-bought, he’d found this beach wood wrapped in seaweed after a morning surf session, and transformed it into a piece of grace art! It’s one of the few possessions I would grab if the house were on fire.
The gift didn’t stop there. Bryan sat me down and turned on the TV, which was hooked up to the computer. For the next thirty minutes, I stared at faces of soul sisters, friends from near and far, friends who know the depths of me. They sat in the bathroom while their little man knocked on the other side, they held a warm mug as a symbolic cup waited for me. On the bed, on their couch, in their office, each one of these treasured people spoke a short birthday video to me in their surroundings, in their time zone- affirming, loving, encouraging, and validating this humble soul.
And I bawled. Legs crossed, Kleenex piling like a snow-capped lap mountain, I cried snotty, mascara river crocodile tears. One video overflowed into another- kindred hearts fanning the flame for my passions, applauding vulnerability, echoing intentionality. Karen joked about meeting over the dot game in freshman Human Growth & Development class and the many birthdays we’ve celebrated together. Lindsay, still in the hospital after giving birth to their sweet Caleb the day before snuggled her newborn babe and spoke through sleep-deprived joy. At that point I threw the wet Kleenex and used poor Bruiser to mop up the happy tears!
There are no words for being affirmed and celebrated by friends who have permission to speak into my life.
Humbling. Undeserving. Encouraging. Unconditional Love.
Thank you to my husband who knows how much I needed love that day. And thank you to each friend that took a couple minutes out of your daily schedule to speak into my heart.
Ironically it didn’t cost a thing. It cost their time to make it, and Bry’s time to put it together, but there was no bows or wrapping paper involved ~ just the sweet sound of familiar voices.
A living eulogy is what it was! Words shared that some of us never hear on this side of life.
A month later and I can’t get the birthday video out of my head, or off my desktop. It’s saved in the “I’m not a loser” folder. All of us need that folder. For those down, cloudy days, a reserve of encouragement rays in true reminders of why you are to be celebrated! Suddenly all is right in the world. If you don’t have that folder, make one today. You won’t regret it.
As far as today, let’s affirm people. Share why they are valuable, how they brighten your life. It may be small, gentle nudges or in grand gestures, but it matters to you. And it will definitely matter to them.
Don’t wait to whisper their significance at a funeral or service. Tell them today. Pick up the phone, deliver their favorite drink, gift them a living eulogy.