My Gift, My Birthday

December beckons me with a fair amount of sentimentality and ambivalence. I’ve had difficulty embracing all that this month holds for my life especially now as I anticipate turning 70 years old.

My actual birthday is December 23 but as a child it was always 2 days before Christmas. One in the same you might notice, yet for my childlike heart 2 days before Christmas was an absolute that could never change no matter what day of the week the 23rd fell on. My mother always made sure my birthday present was wrapped in birthday paper so there could be no doubt in my heart that the day was special and separate from the one that fell 2 days later.

My heart quickens with delight as I remember the anticipation of those wonder filled birthdays. A quickening that seems to have evaporated as the “7 0” feels like a fence hedging me in. I’ve questioned God as to what more could be in store for me? The best seems to have melted away before I’ve had the chance to grasp hold of what is next? Yet oddly enough, I’m discovering what comes next. And, it has come through the conversations I’ve had with older women.

This past summer I spent time in the presence of 2 women who are both 80+ years old. Both slightly quirky in their endearing ways yet I found myself fascinated as I listened to their stories that reflected both heartache and love. There were no regrets or “what if’s…” I experienced their gratitude for the life God has granted them along with gratitude for the love of those who lived life with them. There was a spirit of generosity and hope as they blessed my life and the goodness of my heart.

As I reflect back on these conversations I realize that I was given a gift. It wasn’t like the one that I could unwrap like the presents from my childhood but one passed onto me from a wiser generation of 2 women who love deeply. Did I mention that they both love Jesus? And when I see Him in the presence of their light I have grown to love Him more. My heart resonated with their love and their laughter for life regardless of the obstacles placed before them. Both hobble along with walkers yet there is no stopping those 2 from living out the richness of life. Richness they continue to pass onto me.

Today I have a renewed perspective of my 70th birthday. I’m viewing it from the vantage of an older woman. I, too, have a gift that can bless others.

This gift can hold the sentimentality of my childlike heart along with the gift of my tender heart holding both the heartache and goodness of my own life.

December 23 is just around the corner…2 days before Christmas…followed 2 days later by Christmas. This is an explanation only my childlike heart can hold. Already God is bringing into focus the faces of those I love who long for the generosity and the blessing that only my 70-year-old tender heart can give.

May you discover anew your own heart full of a life richly lived. May you give tenderly the richness that resides there for the goodness of others this holiday season.

MJMary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.