Yesterday was a wonderfully heartwarming day. Many friends and those dear remembered the anniversary of my birth. Today I am still aglow with the love expressed to me. I started making a list of everyone who emailed, texted, called, sent a card through the mail or on line or otherwise wished me a happy birthday. My intention was to thank each and every one by name here this morning. However, the list got so long that somewhere in the afternoon I lost track and gave up. The length of the partial list I did make was humbling and a cue to remember always how loved I am especially in whatever dark moments that may come.
Accepting that others care about me has always been challenging. Make no mistake I yearn for the love and affection of those dear to me. Intellectually I know feeling “less than”, “not good enough” and at best only partially loveable are false emotions and echoes of events and happenings long ago. Thankfully the resonance of “then” becomes less and less with the passage of time. I was closed off for many years and that lack I carried serves now to open my heart wider than it could have otherwise. My immense ability today to feel with greater depth and magnitude is a silver lining discovered within where once was only a big dark cloud. Thankfulness for that awakening is greater than I can possibly express.
This morning I want to avoid hiding what I intend to say in a quantity of words that could easily mask my intent. With that thought in mind, I modestly endeavor here this morning to express my deepest gratitude for the goodness I received from my friends and loved ones yesterday on my birthday. From those at work who got the birthday cake for me to the old friend who texted from her trip in Israel, from the two dear friends who took me to dinner last night to the other two who invited me, from the simple “happy birthday” words to the cards and gifts I received, “thank you, thank you very much”.
The time for me to express my feelings to those I care about only exists in the present. Someday what I mean to say will be no longer possible. So here below are my thoughts expressed through another’s words. I place these lines here with thankfulness for the words being lent to me and with deep gratitude for every thread of love shown me.
If I be the first of us to die,
Let grief not blacken long your sky.
Be bold yet modest in your grieving.
There is a change but not a leaving.
For just as death is part of life,
The dead live on forever in the living.
And all the gathered riches of our journey,
The moments shared, the mysteries explored,
The steady layering of intimacy stored,
The things that made us laugh or weep or sing,
The joy of sunlit snow or first unfurling of the spring,
The wordless language of look and touch,
Each giving and each taking,
These are not flowers that fade,
Nor trees that fall and crumble,
Nor are they stone,
For even stone cannot the wind and rain withstand
And mighty mountain peaks in time reduce to sand.
What we were, we are.
What we had, we have.
A conjoined past imperishably present.
So when you walk the wood where once we walked together
And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you for my shadow,
Or pause where we always did upon the hill to gaze across the land,
And spotting something, reach by habit for my hand,
And finding none, feel sorrow start to steal upon you,
Close your eyes.
Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you.
Taken from The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans 2001
If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile… But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me. Unknown