So every year on my birthday, I ask myself a question like this, "If this was my very last birthday, am I pleased with the life I've lived?" I know this sounds a bit morbid, but it makes me stop and consider my priorities. Reminds me of the good stuff of life. I learned early in my adult life that life isn't something to take for granted. We are never promised a tomorrow. Oh I plan to live a long, full life, to see my kids fall in love, to kiss my grandbabies, to look in Mike's eyes when we are 'old and gray'. But living in a broken world means I'm not promised that. So, if my life were to be over now, has it been 'enough'? Full enough, rich enough, meaningful enough. Here are some of my thoughts, as I've pondered this question today.
Well, I continue to amazed and overwhelmed by the God of Universe, the God of my soul. I continue to seek Him who is both profound and beautiful and am being changed by the simplicity and truth of grace. I have this amazing marriage and while it's easy to be in love with Mike, I'm also proud that we've taken steps to keep our marriage strong and we take time for each other. (Things like pausing in our life to getaway together and finding hobbies to do together...our latest endeavor is training to run a 5k.)
I've given life to two beautiful girls and have no regrets about pausing my career to stay at home with them while they are young and rearranging my life now so that I can spend as much time as possible with them. Yes, I have dreams and careers I'd like to pursue and if I'm blessed to see my 48th birthday, I will still have 20 years before 'retirement' where I can pursue those dreams, after my kids are grown. My biggest fear in dying is that my girls will forget how much I love them. I don't want them to ever not know my love. Oh, I'm still learning how to live in this parenting gap...this gap between the parent I thought I'd be and the reality of what parenting really is. (I think I might have to write more about that someday.)
I take time for extended family...we visit as often as we can, I email, remember special occasions, I call. We have moved several times and I have been blessed with amazing friendships all along life's journey. I feel I do my best to let people know they are special to me... to tell them, write them... to cherish them and let them know they have touched my life. Today I've thought of a few relationships that aren't as 'whole' as I'd like them to be and that makes me sad. I need to consider what steps I need to take to restore those relationships to the life-giving relationships they are meant to be.
No matter what stage of life I've been in, I've found opportunities to give to others. Currently, I am volunteering as a card writer for Parents of Murdered children; as a Girl Scout leader for Sarah's troop; and as a Room mom for Morgan's class. I feel life at a very deep level. I am often moved to tears by the depth of life. If I have any regrets, it's that I'm so serious, such a planner, such a 'rule follower'. Sometimes I wish I could 'throw caution to the wind', I could 'go with the flow' more, I could just 'let go'. But, all in all, I have to say that on this birthday, my life is fuller than I ever dreamed possible when I was a kid and I'm thankful for all 36 years of it!