Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Lent Project #5 Thirty, Purty* and Thriving

I once got tired of the usual Happy Birthday song, so I wrote my own song. It went:

Happy birthday! You're another year older, but not a lot wiser!
Happy birthday, we want some birthday cake,
We're singing- one step closer, one step closer, one step closer to eternal lii-ii-fife!

Other rejected lyrics

Some people think that's it's morbid that I'm referencing death in a celebration of life. (And that's even after I toned down the lyrics.) But I was inspired by this quote:

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. – Pope Paul VI

I turned 30 on Friday. For years I (and most of the world) thought that 30 sounded like a scary-sounding age. The combination on single and 30 sounded especially ominous. Back in the day I used to download free legal mp3 tracks from Amazon, and heard this weird song called '31 Today'. The lyrics went '31 today! I thought my life would be different by now, I thought my life would be different some how.' Kinda depressing, I know.

But on Friday as I looked at my life from the perspective of eternity, I felt nothing but joy. I AM doing what I TRULY want to do, and what I am made for, I am not waiting for tomorrow. I am striving to live a life of holiness and love. I am day by day becoming a lover, as I walk with the original Lover day by day. I am finally inch by inch given up indiscipline, my nemesis, as I have begun to wake up early and go to daily Mass. It sounds like a weird holy person thing, but for years I've wanted to be the kind of person who wakes up early and goes for Mass rather than one who stays up too late reading blogs, and then drags myself out of bed just in time for my first activity of the day.

Up bright and early on my birthday morning

I am learning to be patient with the circumstances I can't control- the fact that I am still single, the discomforts and sacrifices of volunteer life, the difficult people I sometimes have to work with, the little disappointments, even my own weaknesses and sinfulness.

But also I have learned to accept with joy the many, many good gifts that God has given me. This year He has given me the sweet gift of living away from the polluted, fast, big city, in a cleaner, greener, slower small town. I spent the morning of my 30th birthday at 7 am Konkani Mass and then the beach with my family and team. Another sweet gift is that of working this year with families from my organization who have young children who fill my heart with their affectionate caresses. I have been surrounded by friends and family who love me and help me feel loved. I had family travel to spend my birthday with me, a birthday song written for me, cake and presents, and special presentations and videos emailed to me. I was honored and affirmed, I basked in the affection and approval of my family and community. Truly, my cup overflows.

On my birthday morning, the Lord said:

'I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like the lily; He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar, and put forth his shoots.'

Life with Jesus is nothing but yes. I know there are times when I'm going to be depressed and melancholic, struggle with self-doubt and probably old age at some point.. achy bones and gray hair (that still seems a long way off though). But a life with Him is a life of hope, and growth, and a joy that endures, a life of adventure and new horizons, until the day when I reach the final destination.

Like Papa Francesco says,

Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved.

Lenten challenge: Are you putting of becoming the person God wants you to become? Do it now! There are only so many tomorrows!

* Flirty didn't fit, so purty it was. Also considered were- wordy, quirky, nerdy... (13 going on 30 anyone?)

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