What is it about birthdays that terrify some and enchant others? I’m of the latter persuasion!
It is with a tremendous sense of gratitude that I get to celebrate another trip around the sun, certainly with the Son at the centre of my life, I have a whole lot to be grateful for.
Faith aside, for some the annual event is met with a shrug and a wry smile; a reluctance to admit the addition of another year to their life’s tally; an extra creak in the joints and a general loss of mobility; fading looks with the growing numbers of grey hairs and wrinkles reminding them of their distant youthfulness?
These are the things that seem to give me a bit of a boost in that I am thankful for the opportunity to gain the extra silver streaks and to chalk-up the creases to the extra opportunities of laughter, or tears because in my case, there are always plenty of those!
The reason for my birthday delight is that it truly is MY day and I revel in it! I have no qualms about letting others know that it’s my special day and to literally bask in the fact that on this day, I was lucky to be born healthy, with a sound mind (and apparently a good pair of lungs!) in possession of all limbs, digits and appendages; into a stable, loving and happy family; into security and safety; warmth and sufficient food and clean water; to mention but a few of the most basic human needs, what is NOT to be truly thankful for?
I’m thankful to for the life that I have been blessed with, beyond the basics in the aforementioned paragraph, but for the opportunities that my parents, family and friends have afforded me along the way, for the talents that I have been gifted with and for the gumption to take on what was not apparently mine for the taking, but certainly for the asking!
The older I become the more I am in awe of those older than me in age but not in ability and mobility. We are all given a unique set of genes and there is really not much one can do about them, but make the best of them. So we aim to stay as mobile as possible for as long as possible, to eat as healthily as we can without denying ourselves the occasional pleasures and treats and to keep learning as much as we can in order to keep our minds alert and our conversations interesting.
Finding ourselves in Switzerland for this year’s celebration, I am encouraged by the numbers of hikers we see passing by our house, most of them being of the senior citizen category. (An aside: the Swiss are very good at being correctly attired and equipped for these hikes, unlike the two of us sporting our regular trainers, the sports variety, shorts & t-shirts, which will be layered-up now that the snow has fallen!) I guess that the practical reason for this is time: the younger generation are busy chasing careers and being as ambitious as they ought to be, whilst pursuing mobility of a speedier variety, I too was once one of them…
I am loath to admit, especially to my family, that I am now a walker, although in the Swiss case, more of a hiker since the gradients are steep and so running is hardly possible, unless one comes across a contour type road of undulating terrain.
It is these mountains that create a certain type of people and we’ve noticed shorter, sturdy legged, firm footed folk here, all the better equipped to climb the hills day after day. The complete opposite to our Dutch friends who are so tall, and extra long of limb, for long strides over the flattest of low lying lands, the polders. I am enjoying the contrast, for now!
I’m not much of a poet but these few lines popped into my head the other day:
I was counting my blessings and feeling some hurt
So went to the back door and looked in the dirt
There I found a mound of tiny blessings from the day before
That had been swept aside to make room for more
I bent to gather them in my hands which soon were too full
They overflowed to make room for more
These transferred themselves to my heart where they grew still more
From my heart to my eyes where they spilled over to land on the floor
The cycle of gratitude began once more.