April 25, 2010
I want to share a little bit about myself tonight.
It's 23:11 at night, after a very busy but wonderful day. Today was my birthday and Melissa and I hosted a shindig at our apartment. We wanted to go to church this morning, and last night Graham was up throughout the night due to a combination of teething, a low-grade fever, and the flu (poor kid!). Needless to say both Melissa and I slept poorly, and the one person who saved us was my Dad (who is in town for a month-long visit, staying at each of his children's homes for 3-4 days). Dad and his impressive Uno skills kept the kids preoccupied for nearly two hours while Melissa Graham and I slept in.
Church was filling. It felt like the speaker was delivering a message tailored directly for me. The speaker was a recently returned missionary who spoke about God's will and how we should pray for that instead of asking for something which could potentially hurt another (for example asking for a day without rain when in reality the desert needs any rain possible). This struck a chord within me; I often feel I can compel God. Thankfully He is patient in my learning. :)
We prepared the house yesterday and continued to prep things after church, clearing out little clutter zones which have accumulated over the past 5-6 months. For me, cleaning is a panacea--not only does it have the obvious benefit of getting the house in order but I feel a mental weight lift as the little "get to it laters" are finally done.
I got to assemble a trampoline in the back yard (inherited from Melissa's folks), marinade chicken, clean the grill and set up chairs on the lawn. I felt ready for the family to visit.
Finally everyone arrived and I began the bratwurst, hot dogs and chicken. The food was a hit, the conversation great, and I got to be surrounded by a bunch of folks I think the world of. By the time the birthday song was sung I realized how real was all their love. It struck me like a hammer blow as they sung and I was humbled. How fortunate a man! What a great family I belong to! What a legacy I have come from!
My eldest sister, Anna had put together a few photo albums about our ancestors; my father as a youth, my great great great grandmother as a child, a newspaper clipping of my great grandfather's last day in court, right before he passed, arguing a case. How near that veil separating me from the afterlife today--It seemed a spiderweb across my face, and if I merely reached for it, pushing it away like a nussiance that I could lift it and see them all, My ancestors who care about their progeny. Forbears who lived, gathered at sibling birthday parties of their own, laughed, loved and died. I know they still ive on in the next world.
To them I write; I've not heard your voice nor known the inflections of it, but I feel as if I should, as if the time and space between us is naught and we have sat and eaten together, visiting in animated fashion about this or that. Your face is mine, and mine yours; my passions and interests most likely none too different. May hap my hand and yours, palms pressed together (as often a child will do) would show the same size and shape, handprints swirling is symphony, mirrors of one another.
This is a time for me to reflect; 32 years of life, years of moments, years of family around me, seen and unseen, my life moving from landmark to milestone as if in a dream. It occurs to me that those first dates in high school were half a life ago. Further that my childhood, such a foil compared to my sons, was twenty five years ago. My future, an easy to read map in the topography of my father's face; each crease and wrinkle spelling out a worry for his seven children, each furrow in his brow a contour line closer and closer in elevation.
One can learn a lot about self when surrounded by family, when surrounded by photos of their past, when surrounded by thoughts of how dear each heart is.
Absent tonight were Becky, Mom and Ma'am. I thought about you three and hope may hap you'll read this--knowing you were thought of, realizing you are loved, feeling you were missed. If I could hug you all I would, happy to see ach of you, glad to be near each of you.
It is late--the dog is snoring, his belly overfilled with a half dozen child-spilled hot dog and buns. All in the house are abed and I should be too, yet I write. I write to thank God for the life He gave me, for the great blessing of my family, and for the atonement of Christ. I thank Him for 32 years, and for the prospect of however many more He sees fit to send my way.
And for that, today was a wonderful birthday.