I remember last year around this time I was so excited. I knew my 50th Birthday was a few months away and I had geared up to do this personal campaign called “FiftyToFifty” where I would (the 50 days leading to my 50th birthday) spend individual time celebrating with the folks and celebrating folks who made a difference in my life as well as write everyday about a life lesson learned. Then I would welcome 50 and do something each month to celebrate life! Ohhhhh… sounds so great, even now. And hey, I managed parts of each of that. But I what I didn’t realize was that during those days leading up to my 50th, my Mom would face illness and the challenge of discovering what that illness was. Shortly after turning 50, during the week of Thanksgiving, she would receive a diagnoses and the fight (which we are winning) kicked into a whole different level!
Between November and January, I would lose my cousins Al and Lamar and throughout the year several friends in addition to enduring some other storms of life. It seemed as if the year and all of the circumstances were trying to break me. And to be honest, some days I felt broken. But most days, I held my head up and kept walking.
Truth is life can be quite hard and at times even heartbreaking. As we journey through the ups and down, we are often given opportunities to discover what we and others are made of- what’s at the core of our belief and very being. We learn about us- who & what’s important to us, what we prioritize, what frightens us, what fuels us, who and what is worth our fight, if our faith is strong, if our strength is small, if we live the life we talk.
Although I am gratful to have seen 50 (and soon 51), once again I have learned that life- it’s not about age. It about the decisions you make- the life you CHOOSE to live every single day you wake up. It’s about being grateful for each breath you breathe- grateful for the precious people in your life and for the opportunity to make another beautiful memory. It’s about trusting and believing God- period. It’s about loving, celebrating and fighting for yourself and for the ones who have been entrusted to be in your life. It’s about wanting to give up sometimes but knowing that you can’t- knowing that option is not even on the table. It’s about looking up, getting up and taking that next step forward after the “bully circumstances” of life have knocked you off your feet and told you, “Stay your butt on the ground!” It’s about the forgiveness of self and others and moving beyond the people, places and things that brought you to tears and attempted to literally crush your spirit. It’s about holding on to peace, making time to laugh, being kind and experiencing joy regardless of what’s going on in the world. It’s about finding and flowing in the beautiful rhythm of grace.
Life… So much more than about a certain number of years… It’s about “daring to be”- daring to live “you” in all of your fullness- showing up- even wounded if you have to- withholding nothing back that’s good- being authentic, being well, being whole, being purposeful- shining through light and through darkness- prayerfully encouraging and helping others find their way along the way. It may not be easy, but we will find that it’s worth it.