I love May Day. Not because it is the month when you can (mostly) count on spring finally arriving. I mean, if winter lingers through April, at least May is the month when spring must come. And, it isn’t because of the celebrations surrounding May Day, although when I was a kid, I loved making little baskets to take to my neighbor friends. No, my love of May Day is actually rather selfish. As a child, I knew that May Day meant that May 2nd was the very next day and May 2nd is my birthday.
Yesterday, I once again celebrated my birthday. The excitement still lingers even though I am now three-quarters through my life expectancy. Last year I was distracted from the full ramifications of the shock of the big 6-0 by the cancer I faced. And, to be honest, the best birthday present I ever received was the phone call from my doctor telling me my lymph nodes were clean and I didn’t need any more treatment!
But, this year has provided more opportunities to experience what others tell me are normal signs of aging. Muscles, joints, bones, energy, focus, hair that has thinned and won’t do what it used to. . . if you know, you know.
However, with age has come a realization that there are things I wish I had grabbed onto when I was younger. Things like the truth of the power available to me to live the Christian life through God’s power, rather than my attempts. Sigh. Maybe this is some of the wisdom that people talk about getting with age. To be honest, I kind of feel like I’m finally growing up. You know, maybe I’m 40 now?
When my sister-in-law wished me a Happy Birthday, I asked her. . . “How did this happen to us?”
She responded with, “One day at a time, but it still SNUCK UP on us!”
Snuck up, that’s the truth.
So, yesterday, instead of going to the arboretum as we had planned, I made an urgent visit to my optometrist to see about the new floaters and flashes in my right eye. Thankfully, as with last year, I received the best possible news from the doctor. “Your retina is fine.” But, then she had to add that other phrase. “It is just a normal sign of aging.” Yes. I think my eyes might have rolled.
There is a prayer I found a couple of years ago in The Divine Hours, by Phyllis Tickle. It is meant as a morning prayer, but by just changing the word “day” to “year” it can be a prayer for the year. Since I am facing the normal process of aging, I think it might help me remember that available power I spoke about just a moment ago. It is now not only my morning prayer, but also my birthday prayer.
Lord God Almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me safely to this new year. Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin or be overcome by adversity, and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen