Thursday, August 13, 2009

Post Birthday Musings


Birthday Celebrations. Some people around me, in daily comings and goings, have grumbled on their birthdays, especially as they get older, that they have nothing to celebrate. A President they didn't vote for, a job that's either inadequate or absent, or the loss of things held dear.

Some even said "I prayed that things would be different this year!" How do you explain to someone that prayer is not a quick fix, an instant healing? Prayer is not asking, it is a longing of the soul. It is a daily admission of one's heart; it is giving words to that you seek answers for. I don't attend church on any regular basis, weekends are often on call or working. Life doesn't stop according to the calender, and disaster does not take a day of rest. But my faith is a quiet, deep stream and I talk to God daily. You can call it prayer if you want. I don't say a whole lot when I pray, but I know He hears, for isn't it better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart?

Hindsight is 20/20. I look back at many things that have happened to me, love, loss, illness, times of searing pain that have honed me into the person I am. I wake up too sometimes with dread for the direction I see our country headed, fearful in the things that concern all of us, yet I truly believe that life is good, each day an adventure. For there's a hope in me, a wonderment just to be alive. If some higher power could have kept me from feeling life's pain would I have asked for it? Of course. Yet I would not be who I am, without my experiences. I am a better person for my trials. Think of something that you wished for, and didn't get, that ended up being something completely unexpected, and even more wonderful.

I was a teenager and abandoned by my boyfriend when I first believed I was pregnant. Scared and angry as I first prayed "oh please don't let me be", I had not known, in my brief years, that life itself lay embedded in each lustrous moment. I had yet to grasp the science and wonder that changed amino acids into living cells or glimpse the miracle of spontaneous healing - forgiveness where once there was despair and anger. I had listened to a hundred old hymns as I grew up and loved the music, but had not dared hope that from my own flesh I would see the transcendent.

I am reminded daily that I am, we all are, destined to die—but just as surely to participate in our role in creation.And she was born. I had prayed that it would not happen. Now someone new and beautiful lay breathing, a soft deep breath of trust in life. I really didn't know how lacking in hope I had been until then. And the event that I had prayed would not take place became my greatest accomplishment and her small redheaded form, my biggest act of courage.

And on this MY birthday, she was alive and well, having a wonderful meal with her adoptive parents, followed perhaps by a call to her "other Mom", with their blessing. We could laugh and talk of many things, of books and movies, friends and dreams. We could giggle like long friends, and, for a moment, that ache of loss will be but a wisp of woodsmoke drawn up from my outdoor fireplace into the promising night.

For on my birthday and always, I am thankful for her and all she has brought to a wonderful family. So I'd have to say on this birthday that turned out much different than I'd planned a year ago - what we have, even if unplanned, was worth celebrating. The surprises in our life, when we think there are none left, are things to savor.





I'd also say our prayers are all answered; we just don't always get the answer we want. As much as you might wish it to be, you can't always measure the work of the universe with order and logic, any more than you can expect to have everything you ask for. For neither our government, or our God, are some sort of divine help-desk we can call for response to every monetary and physical need. But I do believe that with our God, that we are heard. So on this birthday I would continue to pray for family, for a small group of friends whom I love, and that great liberty of laughter and hope, still knocking on my door.

--Brigid

44 comments:

  1. Nicely put, Brigid - the place of family in life is so much greater than I ever appreciated. It took me far too long to realize.

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  2. Wasn't it a Garth Brooks song that went "Thank God for unanswered prayers". Something like that anyway.

    Glad you had a good BD.

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  3. Happy Belated Birthday ma'am - it sounds like you are wise beyond your years.

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  4. Happy Birthday. Some of the best writing I've read. Ever. I think I'll make a copy and save that for my daughter when she comes home one night, crying because of... something. She's only 11 now but I can see the future unfolding before my eyes. She's a wonderful person and its hard for a father to watch them taking the steps toward adulthood. Maybe your writing will help her to understand that its not about the destination but the journey. Thank you for the great inspiration.

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  5. The big crock pot with the timer gets used at least once a week at our house. That is a very cool gift!

    Our favorite dish for the pot is a variation on cochinita pibul from Rick Bayless' "Mexican Everyday". We even have two dwarf banana plants on the patio to supply the leaves, but a good Mexican grocer will have them in the freezer section.

    The best part is that the leftovers taste *better* the next day after all the spices have a chance to permeate further into the meat.

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  6. Anon - thank you. I hope your daughter enjoys.

    Roscoe - super crockpot AND a steamer. Cool gifts indeed. I was thrilled. Can't wait to try some new recipes with them. I'm not sure if I've EVER seen a Mexican grocers in this neck of the woods, but I bet there's one someplace in the city.

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  7. Happy birthday, Brigid! I`ve found your blog yesterday and I`m still amazed. Thanks for all the great work! And congratulations to all those cool gifts :)

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  8. you can't always measure the work of the universe with order and logic

    Right on Brigid. The older I get, the more I come to accept this.

    Thanks again for sharing, and Happy Birthday!

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  9. Happy Birthday and thank you for your wisdom about prayer, Brigid.

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  10. Happy Birthday, Brigid. I truly enjoy your blog, even if I do not always comment on it.

    And you are right, God does answer all prayers--it's just that sometimes His answer is No.

    --Vic303

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  11. Happy birthday to a wise and talented writer. I read your blog first in the morning.co

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  12. You can't always measure the work of the universe with order and logic.


    I think I just found a new signature quote. With proper attribution and your permissions, of course.

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  13. Happy Birthday Brigid, and a big Thank You for all your writings.
    YeOldFurt

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  14. Andy - of course.

    Now off to work with a bit of leftover birthday cake to share with my Team (not counting what was "breakfast" :-)

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  15. "....isn't it better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart?" WOW! So simple, so true. Honesty of the soul. Brigid, your posts about guns, cooking, hunting, etc., are but mere frosting (wonderful, delicious frosting) on the true cake of your writing. These types of posts never fail to move me to introspectively consider different realms of this thing we call human existence. Thank You, steve

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  16. On occasion, bad things happen to good people. Belief in God does not mean bad things cannot happen to you; it does mean he'll be there with you during the bad times.

    How many times do people pray to God to do their will, not his?

    The best I can do is accept my friends for what they are, not for what I'd wish them to be.

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  17. Once again another powerful post..I hope you got that call.

    Belated happy birthday, hope you had time to go out and try those hand loads!

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  18. Glad you had a "Good" Birthday Brigid, your's is a life surrounded by friendship's and blessing's, treasure each moment they pass all to swiftly. I've all to frequently had the older experenced LEO talk to newbies and citizen's. The constant response afterward's is "why I'm not burned out or bitter" generally this comes from those who fail to understand we move forward through life and not backward's. God Bless...

    Joe

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  19. Very profound, Brigid. And Happy Birthday!

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  20. Pastoring a congregation is not just preaching on Sunday morning and a mid-week service. Would that it were: that's the 'gravy' part of the calling.

    The real 'pastoring' comes in the daily struggles of the people as they try to cope with life's ups & downs, the day-to-day mundane, and life and death.

    In far too many life & death battles, I've watched people who seemed strong, surrender - and I've seen those of quiet, unassuming folks display stronger will, fight back, and many times win.

    Yours is a depth of spirit and wellspring of determination that I rarely see. I have no doubt that you are of the 'stronger' category, and will not give up without a fight. Your courage is inspiring, and I recommend your writing to many with whom I speak.

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  21. Happy Birthday from France, still love reading your stuff.

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  22. Happy Birthday, B.
    May you be blessed with many, many more!

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  23. Happy Birthday Brigid!

    Thank you for the wonderful writing, your's is the writing that I make sure I don't skim through.

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  24. Happy Birthday. Thanks for sharing something very personal.

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  25. Happy belated Birthday, and thanks for brightening my day, Brigid.
    Mine's coming up next week, and although I, too, feel the apprehension and uncertainty of the future, I know I'll 'muddle through' like I always manage to do.

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  26. As Robert Rodriguez explains in his "10 Minute Cooking School" on pibil, the banana leaves aren't absolutely necessary, but they add a subtle flavor and there's the "cool" factor of watching the reaction on your guests' faces as you're unwrapping the pork.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO8EiScBEjA

    (NSFW - Robert uses a naughty word at the end of his sentence "Not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to ...")

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  27. Hi, Brigid;

    Not all of your posts resonate with me (I'm not much on cooking), but wow; this one did. Hmm, I think I've said 'wow' in regards to your blog more than any other.

    Especially the part about prayer. I'm pleased to know that we are on the same team, and someday we will know you in Heaven.

    In any case, have a most Happy Birthday, and best wishes to you and yours.

    -Popgun

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  28. I'm glad to hear that you talk to God. I know he listens. He doesn't respond the way we want him to, sometimes, but he does listen. I think I realize now that he wants you to lay your heart bare to him. I think he knows it, but wants to hear you say it. After all, he's the Almighty, and it's somewhat crazy for us to not be less than honest with him.

    Happy birthday.

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  29. Happy Birthday! Your post made me reflect on a Quote from Saint Teresa of Avila..
    "More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones."

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  30. Happy Birthday Brigid

    half UK

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  31. You know, you're quite wonderful. It's always a joy to spend time reading your thoughts, your heart. Lovely, brave soul.

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  32. Wonderful post, thank you for sharing.

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  33. Happy Birthday, my dear! I wish you a year of joy, love, fulfillment, friends and fabulous food until the next.

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  34. I'm totally late to the party here (so to speak), but let me wish you many happy returns of the day.

    And your thoughts about prayer are simply beautiful.

    And the picture of Barkley in the tub made me picture a caption: Ceci n'est pas un Dog Biscuit, but I wish it wuz.

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  35. Happy B-day Brigid!

    I am very glad to see that mine is not the only family to wrap presents in the Sunday funnies.

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  36. Ha ha! You got plush 'Hoops and Yoyo' for your B-day!!! All your missing now is 'Sprinkles' (the lil blue feller).

    They are so funny.

    Here's a fav of mine that I think may give you a giggle or two:

    ('kisses for you')

    http://www.hallmark.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ecard%7C10001%7C10051%7C559369%7C147551;-102001;11443;-102034;92054%7Cecard%7CP3R5S%7Cecards?cardType=premium&template=n&categoryId=92054

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  37. Happy Birthday.

    It's always grounds to celebrate when God or mother nature decides to offer you another year.

    The best part is that each new year turns out better than the last one.

    Chris

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  38. Btw... this is a _very_ well written post, Brigid.

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  39. Re-read this today. It is very beautiful and has many messages I hope that my kids will eventually understand.

    I hope your birthday is followed by many more where your prayers are answered in the way that you want.

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  40. Happy Belated Birthday, Brigid! I'm so glad to see it was a good one.

    May you be blessed with many more.

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  41. Blessings on you and your daughter. I am so glad that you and her have a relationship.

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  42. Happy (late) Birthday! Great post. I hope you had a great day with many years to come.

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  43. I hope you have a great new year!

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I started this blog for family that lives far away. Now that they are gone, it continues on to share those memories.

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