Lessons Coated in Laughter (and Sugar) (and Tears)

Birthdays.  Some love them, some hate them.  I like to use my birthday as an excuse to get the girls together, and that’s just what we did.   Sadly though, this beautiful birthday celebration night left me filled with remorse.

Birthdays have a way of bringing things to the surface that have been detectable previous. The blunt force of a Birthday, another year gone by, causes us to focus in, open our hearts, and truly see them.

I had the joy of celebrating my 37th birthday with an evening of tasty eats, but even more importantly, with a room full of amazing women.  We laughed, got to know one another (better), and told stories new and old.  At the end of the evening, as the cake was being served (my first cake ever with lime green dumbbells on it 💚💪), each gal at the table took a turn sharing how we met, a favorite memory they have with me, and their hopes for me in the year ahead.  This was a part of the evening I will not forget.  Even if I don’t remember the exact words spoken, I will remember how full my heart felt & how much love my spirit was receiving. (My body wasn’t complaining about the cake either.  😜)  

As the last friends shared and the rustling of jackets began, the paying of bills, and sweet hugs goodbye, I started to feel sad inside.  Not because I wanted to keep on partying that very night (I did have to wake up early to train a client so staying up late wasn’t my goal.). But had I realized, in a few short hours, and with a little time spent planning, I was blessed, really blessed, by the time spent socializing.  

Socializing had become an unwelcome thing in my book.   I was on mission to do other things and relate with people in other ways, and I didn’t place a priority on socializing.  It felt boring to me.  Unnecessary.   Sorry, don’t have time.  It was on this evening I not only realized I need to get back to being more social, but I grieved time lost.  My heart felt heavy, eyes weepy as I got into my car, loaded with gifts, flowers, and cake.  I gave thanks my friends hadn’t given up on me.  

Deciding to give your life to a cause, making yourself available to others, does look different for everyone and I think we can go through seasons.  Perhaps I was meant to be less social this past year so I could pour into the mentor-type roles I had, my small group relationships, among other relationships I’ve been called to develop recently?  Maybe so.  Yet still, my birthday dinner night showed me it doesn’t have to be all or none.  Time “just for fun” is not a waste.    And I need it.  

In contrast to the sad tears shed as I headed home from the festivities, full of gratitude for each and every women and their acts of kindness, the following day brought a different realization.  

As I opened all of my gifts and cards the very next day, I was thankful, excited, smiling, sending thank you text messages, and hit in the head with the remembrance of this time last year.   The day after my 36th bday.  Opening gifts.   Make that NOT opening gifts.  I let a table full of beautiful gifts sit and sit and sit for almost a full week before I opened them because they overwhelmed me.  I didn’t feel I deserved them.   I knew once I opened them I’d have thank you’s to write.  Truly, the bottom line is, I wasn’t ready to receive the love these women were showing me.  I felt it.  I felt guilt where they meant for me to feel joy, pain where pleasure was supposed to reside.   

I ended my 35th year praying for my heart to be able to receive healthy love.  I’m excited to say I have grown in that area and even started opening my gifts the moment people gave them to me, when appropriate.  And now I end my 36th year praying for wisdom to know when I need to let go of the agenda, let my hair down, and for have some fun with friends!  (I’d say I’m off to a good start since I spent the afternoon yesterday hiking sand dunes and walking the beach with a group of girlfriends.  And was it ever glorious! 

   Life is a journey.    Present over perfect.    Learn along the way.    B Present