It's really really hard to believe it's July already. What happened to June?! I feel gypped.
My birthday really snuck up on my this year. It's at the end of the month, so usually I have plenty of time to get used to the idea. This year it felt like June rushed us right to the end and into July. It may also have something to do with the weather – apparently, we live in the Amazon.
I was just remembering that last year, my birthday landed on my gram & gramps' 60th wedding anniversary bash. They celebrated 60 years of marriage and family, while I marked 27 years of life. This year's day was a bit quieter. For the first time in a long time, I woke up and started the day alone, which made me feel far too old and adult-like. Later, my mom recounted the story of my birth, as she always does. We cooked and ate and sweat in the humid jungle air. We passed around Ada Jo and played cars and trucks.
I believe God puts people like family and siblings and best friends in your way to affirm and encourage and celebrate with. They know me best. They know I really would love a cool, fresh salad and stuffed portobello mushrooms and that there's really nothing better than a lemon blueberry tart to mark a summer birthday. And they know it's been a good, though challenging, year.
My brother John asked me a couple thoughtful questions while we ate our stuffed mushrooms:
What is the most memorable place you've ever been to?
Brasil. Because it was such a rich, authentic experience of a place, a people, and a culture. And because I was a part of such a dear, beloved Brasilian community. Cheering for Brasil in the World Cup has brought that Brasileira verve for life back.
If money wasn't an object, where would you go before your next birthday?
Two places come to mind: one area of the world that I've always wanted to know is the Middle East. Egypt. Israel. Turkey. Morocco. The history and hurt, suffering and life, it would be incredible to experience. And for the other: I'd love to hike the Camino de Santiago, through France and Spain, as a pilgrimage to the cathedral where St. James' remains are buried.
What is the most memorable birthday gift you've received?
My bike. Partly because it's so cool. And partly because of the story – I was heartbroken when it was stolen, only to run into someone riding it at the grocery store 3 days later.
If there's one thing I've learned as I've gotten older it's this: honor the story you've been given.
Stand back and look at the trajectory of your life. Be true to the story God is weaving. Remember who you have been created to be. And always ask: what stirs my soul? And do that.
My dad, who knows me so well and is one of the greatest blessings in my life, gave me a collection of poems by Mary Oliver for my birthday. It's called Thirst. I read this beautiful poem the other day; it is a good benediction to go forth into the year of 28.
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into this world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."