Last weekend marked three years since my liver resection and two years since my big Freedom 55 Birthday Party. Saturday marked the first event and Monday I became a Heinz 57 Special. My cousin and our mutual friend had flown in for the celebration. My brother and sister-in-law would surprise me on Sunday by showing up at the family homestead. I entered this weekend with gratitude for these past three years and the loving hands that supported me.
The weekend was purple in nature. Dark purple tulips and lavender roses arrived. Mylar balloons still float in my home. Card after card of purpliciousness was opened.
Even the First Reading on my birthday was about Lydia, the dealer in purple cloth. I chuckled as I read it out loud to my cousin and friend.
Beautiful emails arrived, commenting on how inspiring I have been or how much I am loved. This is the blessing of celebration. The pitfall, however, is the acknowledgment that I am getting sicker. I am losing weight. My clothes are beginning to hang on me in places, except for the distended abdomen where they are tighter, even in maternity clothes. The jaundice is visible. My appetite is limited, as is my time here. We are all in a hurry to say the words that still need to be said.
A friend from junior high school who now lives out of the country sent an amazing email in the early morning of my birthday. He said many things with his beautiful gift of expression but these lines struck me deeply:
I think everybody is a beautiful variety of God’s love but too few have bloomed the way you have. So go on giving glory to God as Nature plays out, you Suzanne flower, and we’ll take in your beauty and know a little more about the one who sent you.
He captured something different in these lines and I realize that the One-Who-Sends-Us does want to reveal something of the Divine through each of us. With our birth we are meant to give God glory and point the way to the Creator. Some of us put the gifts we are given away from public view and others of us return them to the best of our ability. I know that even as this flower fades, I am still trying to do so with beauty and grace. I am wanting to learn more about the One-Who-Sent-Me as much as everyone else. These lines gave a profound meaning to my birthday this year and were a gift to receive.
What if each of us helped another to know a little more about the One-Who-Sent-Us? Would we see the world through a lens of beauty and joy more often? Would we praise more and whine less? Would we seek out the goodness of the other instead of condemnation? Like my dear friend, I too believe that everyone is a beautiful variety of God’s love and can blossom if given the encouragement.
While it is unlikely that I will see much of the year that lies ahead, I do hope that until I leave this earthly vessel, that I will continue to take in your beauty and watch for the lessons that you have for me regarding the One-Who-Sent-Us.
Have you used the gifts you have been given to bring God glory?
What would others say is one lesson that they have learned from your life that reveals something about the One-Who-Sent-Us?
You-Who-Sent-Us, help us to be all that you know we can be, beautiful vessels that point to you. Let us blossom into a people that point the way to you, with grateful hearts and smiling faces. Amen.