Yesterday was my birthday. It seems they come more often now than they use to. Birthdays to me are a major time for reflection and recollection. For reflection I count the birthday I worked for the circus and almost got stepped on by an elephant, or the time I got my driver’s license, or the day a bombing in my hometown occurred on my birthday, or the 49th year surprise party.
But it is also a time to reflect on the last year. Have I made the most of the year? Probably not! I have been to several weddings and performed a few in the last year. I have taught many a Sunday School Class. I have done some funerals. I have prayed for those who struggle. I have walked along the rocky coast of California and spent the night in the garlic capital of the world. I have been bitten by my own dog.
And yes there have been changes in my life that I have noted. There is less hair, memory sometimes slips and I can’t remember last names, some times my knees hurt, my weight continues to fluctuate, more up than down. My vision is more incomplete. I don’t dream of the big events in life as much as the minor neat things that sometimes surprise me.
Yes, surprise and wonder are the big words for me now. On the downward side of life every day is a surprise, a surprise that I are even here. And I begin to see everything as a gift. "An inch of surprise can lead to miles of gratefulness," said someone. The surprise is the gift.
Yes, the hidden surprise of someone who gives me some candy for my birthday, the friends who remember and sing that horrible birthday song, a friendly smile, the sharing of fragile moments in a persons life, the wonder of the heavens. These are the things that matter. That is where the thank you is.
And the wonder! "Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Who marked off its dimensions? Who stretched a measuring line across it while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? "(Job 38)
The gifts, the surprises, the wonders. a smile. All worth living for and things to be thankful for this year.