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Four years ago this week, my birthday week celebrations were of a completely different nature than they are this year.

My house had foreclosed and I was moving my remaining belongings out, placing them in a small storage unit.  Earlier in the week, I had put the living room furniture, the kitchen canisters and dishes, the beds and dressers, and most everything else from my 3-bedroom, 2-bath house out on the front lawn where a Craigslist ad I had posted announced that all was free, to anyone who wanted them.  What little was left over, I took to charity.

It was over 95 degrees that week, and very humid.  I remember thinking I was too old to be doing this by myself; I’ve always been pretty independent, but this time it would have been nice to have had help.  As luck would have it, however, virtually everyone I knew was unavailable – friends were on vacation, my son had moved to Los Angeles just months before, and other friends had a brand new baby and couldn’t get away.  There was just no one around and it was something that needed to be done.

Many things in my life went away during this time, not just my house, and I spent the next two and a half years in a black pit, in a place sometimes called the dark night of the soul, named after St. John of the Cross’s description of the same during the 16th century.  I flew under the radar of “normal” life, whatever that is, and I subconsciously set about healing my spirit.  I weeded friends’ gardens; I took care of their horse and dog while they vacationed; I baby-sat babies; I repaired screen doors; I fed Dinah Dog and picked up dog poop.  During this “dark night,” my body decided to take off on an adventure of its own and it became sick with a number of fairly serious diseases.  My life was dark and dim, and every place I went felt dingy.  It was as if I was operating by remote control, like some hand was aiming my life and it wasn’t me.

Then about a year and a half ago, a switch flipped on and I felt like I woke up.  Like the room was lit with a bright light and it wasn’t the freight train at the end of the tunnel.  I was still alive and I knew everything was going to be okay.  The “life forecast” was light and bright and the sun was shining.  In my heart, I knew everything was going to be okay.  Not perfect, whatever that is, but okay.  And after the previous few years, okay was not only good, it was great!

Calla lily
Look what bloomed this week – just in time for my birthday!
This week, my birthday celebrations have included things I like to do for myself, like eating good food and food that’s good for me.  Like seeing an Israeli movie dubbed with English subtitles.  Like spending time with friends at a kids movie.  Like celebrating an unexpected birthday present, the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act.  Like dinner and an “art movie” with my son and his partner.  Like brushing Dinah Dog and really “being there” to appreciate her and all she’s given me in the 14+ years we’ve had together.  And the week isn’t over yet!

Although I no longer have a house, I have a good life – an amazing son, lots of super-terrific friends, wonderful Facebook friends (some of whom I’ve never met but it seems like we’ve known each other forever!), and a glorious adventure around every corner.  Did I think I'd be starting my life over at 57?  Nope.  Do I sometimes wish life was just a little bit easier?  Sure.  But I love what I have and that makes all the difference.

Thank you for reading my blog today.  Writing down my stream of consciousness has been one of the tools I used to heal my soul, and even though I write for me, I know from my readers that I’m not the only person out there who has experienced the things I have in my life.  I continue to write for me, and for them.

I leave you today with a Celtic blessing for all of us:

May the blessing of light be on you—
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.


Birthday Week Reflections
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17 thoughts on “Birthday Week Reflections

  • June 27, 2013 at 11:07 am

    You left me speechless today. I'm so happy that you managed to get out on the right side of the tunnel. Happy Birthday <3

    • June 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Thank you, Maria!  Our life stories are so unique to each one of us, but sometimes we share some similarities with another person.  I hope that by sharing what my life has been about that I can give some hope to another that even though we go though some crap, there's always a light in front of us.

      I appreciate your comments <3

  • June 27, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Wow! I'm so glad that you've come out of the dark days and are here now to share with us (and Dinah Dog). May life ahead be bright for y'all!


    • June 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      Thanks, Katy!  Onward and upward, I say!!

  • June 27, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I know that you have been a blessing to me and my family. And I’m so very very happy to have you in our life! My hope is the light will continue to get brighter as you are an amazing person and an inspiration to many! Happy Birthday Lois!!!

    • June 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks, Tricia!  The time I’ve spent among the animals and plants at your property has been very healing for me… it’s also helped me define some things that are important to me and there’s nothing better than knowing your own self 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • June 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Gosh Lois, what an insightful blog you shared today.  While I knew of some of this, to see it written down really shows healing on your part.  For your birthday week, i hope every day is filled with a special surprise, even if its a small as a bird's song.


    • June 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Debbie, it's so much fun connecting with you after all these decades of past history we didn't even know we had!  What a hoot!  Enjoy your day 🙂

  • June 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Happy Birthday Lois. You deserve it. Birthdays don't have to be about cake and parties, or even dreading the new number that comes with them. Gratitude! That's the way to celebrate another birthday, appreciating the road you've travelled and confident that the road ahead will open to more mystery and delight. Hope it's a wonderful year ahead.


    • June 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you, Marilyn!  I never dreaded a number but I did spend some time wandering around in a daze after my 36th birthday… ha!  It was the year that Mark turned 18 and he became a legal adult, and what the hell was I going to do now??!!  It was a funny year, I can tell you that!

  • June 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    This was a very heartwrenching yet touching post.  I am thankful you survived this dark time and pray for only lightness for you. 

    • June 27, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Lu, I, too, am grateful for the light in my life – it comes in so many forms – and being able to see it is a gift I received by walking through the dark night.  Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting; I appreciate it!

  • June 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Happy Birthday! Thank you for sharing such a moving and inspiring post. May the coming years be filled with more blessings! 

    • June 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Thank you, Meg!  And thanks for stopping by and commenting!  Have a great day!

  • June 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    your journey is amazing and you are amazing as well.  Whatever comes, it comes for you and for you enjoyment. Might not be easy but definitely hell of a ride. Things you experience, world you see, and relationships you create might not be appreciated by everybody but you.

    You see this world for what it is and I love you for that. Happy birthday Lois…One day I will get to hug you

    • June 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      Dace, I so appreciate you!  You're one of those people that I've never met but I know we are joined in spirit – I look forward to the day when we get to share a hug and a bite of sushi or something else yummy to eat 🙂  Much love to you, my friend!

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