For those of you who follow along, you'll know that I turned 40 this weekend. You will also know that the Hubster and Sister-Friend planned a little surprise shindig, which after a very full meal I was hoping was not a trampoline place or skating. It was skating. Roller skating to be exact. Why, you ask, would they subject an out-of-shape-almost-40-year-old to such torment, you ask? This:
|Skatetown Circa 1980-something|
Luckily, I had a meeting with my spiritual director earlier in the day, so I was prepared to be gracious whatever the surprise ended up being, even skating. We had been roller skating with friends a few years earlier (and by a few I mean half a dozen at least), so it wouldn't be the first time since the 80's that I'd be donning a pair of four wheelers on my feet. Of course, I wasn't on the doorstep to 40 then either. Surprisingly, after a few rounds around the rink . . . ok, a few dozen rounds around the rink . . . my skate-legs came back to me. Not in a way that would make me think I was ready for the roller derby, but I wouldn't say no to an occasional skate night. I would just ask that it not be on Teen Night next time. Less chance of running into students, and better chance of ANY music we might actually know. Any. Music. At. All.
Overall, it was a perfect celebration with close friends and some foolishness (skating, y'all - skating). I'm sorry more people couldn't make it due to the holiday weekend, but after 40 years, I'm pretty used to that little glitch to my birthday celebrations. My teenage self would be thrilled that there were more boys than girls at my party.
|Broken turn lights, Japanese cuisine, a time machine back to a land of |
phones and phone books, beautiful sunsets, much needed espressos,
all leading to a night of friends and skating. Followed by
confession, of course, to begin a new decade. Oy!
As I look back over four decades of life, I have to say with great certainty that the best is yet to come. Each decade has brought its share of heartaches and triumphs. While some of those have gotten a little more serious as life has kept moving forward, each decade has also brought with it a greater sense of self-assurance. I wish I could say I have completely rid myself of the monkey on my back that is caring what others think - maybe that will be the grace of my 40s. I can say that I am quicker to correct myself and fix my focus on the only One whose measure is worth pursuing.
I still feel badly when I let people down, and I feel as though I do it all the time.
I still worry that I don't measure up as a wife and mother, and I know there is always room for growth.
I still wonder what I'm doing on this planet time and again, and I sometimes feel like I am just treading water.
BUT . . .
I also know that God has created me for a very specific purpose and mission, and even if it takes my whole life to figure it out, the pursuit of that mission is well worth the sweat and tears (and maybe even a little blood?).
I know that no matter how badly I think I am messing things up, at the end of the day the love and grace of God will smooth over the rough edges. At the end of the day, while I can't believe it sometimes, my children and husband still look at me with great love.
I trust that I get an infinite number of do-overs through the grace of God. Until my dying breath, I know His mercy is new every morning.
I am learning to let go of others' expectations, even if I am letting them down. I am learning that I cannot do and be everything to everyone. I am not St. Paul. I am me, and sometimes that will bring the hurt of letting go when I can't give enough. I know God works through that and brings new life and beauty out of it, if only I trust and wait.
So, 40, here's to you! Here is to a decade of laughter, tears, joys, and sorrows . . . of new adventures and the pursuit of dreams. Oh, 40, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
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