“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” ~ Edith Wharton
Yesterday was my birthday. Last night a girlfriend called to see how my day had gone.
“Did you spoil yourself?” she asked. “Did you get massages, and go somewhere fabulous to eat, and get heaps of presents and stuff yourself full of cake?”
“No, not this year,” I replied.
She began to express disappointment for me, but I stopped her. For me, it was a beautiful day. It just didn’t look the way my friend thought it should.
Things started well. I woke from a deep sleep at 4am, slipped out to meditate for my students, clients, friends and family, then I blogged and jumped back into bed for cuddles with my husband and my dogs. I was blessed with lots of kisses, two birthday cards, a beautiful steampunk ladybird necklace, and a windmill (well, the windmill is on someone else’s farm right now, but soon it will be pumping the water from our spring, making my little piece of heaven even more ecologically sustainable ♥.)
We headed down to Byron Bay for an early morning walk on the beach, followed by breakfast at a favourite cafe. There I was showered with birthday hugs from the staff, who kindly gave me my meal for free, and we bumped into friends who gave me more hugs and who stayed for chai and chats. I had that lovely heart-swelling feeling of being home, in a well-loved space.
And then my day altered course. On the trip home from breakfast I got a phone call from my Dad to wish me happy birthday and tell me that my Nana was worse. I packed a bag, jumped in my old farm ute and headed up to the hospital, an hour away, to spend the day with her.
Dad came too, and we spent precious hours talking, sharing and healing. Birthday Lunch was a toasted sandwich and an ordinary coffee in the hospital cafe. But I got to spend it with my Dad, who I don’t see nearly often enough. That was a precious gift in itself. We also talked about the unpublished manuscript of ours that he’s reading, and got lost for a while in the world of stories, history and the Pacific we’ve both travelled and loved.
It was hard to see my little Nana frailer, weaker and less with us. But I brushed her hair, and rubbed cream into her hands and face, and hugged her often and talked with her, and for her. I got to share one last birthday with my other September Girl. And I never cried once.
I saved that for the car.
By the time I got up to Brisbane late yesterday I was wrecked. I fielded more phone calls from loved ones who are all deep in their own issues and dramas right now, and I got to tell them that I loved them, and to help where I could. They sent me love and well wishes too, and I felt that deep connection that ties us all together through time and space, ups and downs, and everything in between.
Ben and the dogs came to spend the night in the city with me and dinner was take-away Chinese from the dodgy restaurant down the road, after which I read through an avalanche of birthday wishes and love on my facebook page, and in my email in-box.
There was no cake, no candles, no fancy meals, no extravagant gifts or lush pampering.
But there was so much love, and life, and connection.
I went to sleep last night feeling truly blessed.
And this morning I shall go somewhere nice and eat cake for breakfast! I might even have some for lunch too. ♥ ♥ ♥