Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Birthday Lunch That Celebrated Life

Our book club gals gathered today for a celebratory birthday.  We have no particular protocol in our informal constitution (there is no constitution) on how such events should unfold.  Sometimes a milestone year is a grand affair. Sometimes it commands a lunch out.  Sometimes it is a cake at a regular meeting and sometimes it is nary a whisper.  We are pretty free wheeling that way.

When we do congregate in the name of birthday milestones, it can often be just a side show to the whole outing. Our time together becomes more about sharing all of our lives.  The wonderful triumphs and crushing defeats.  Today we talked more about death than candles. For this group it is the topic du jour. Two had just lost fathers in the past week.  My uncle died just days ago.  Others had passings that they also wanted to share. We are at that age I guess.

Two blog posts I read recently resonated with me today as we confided and comforted each other at our not so birthday-ish lunch.

The first post is one I actually read often as a way of keeping my keel even when I know I need a reminder to stay caring, thoughtful and giving.  I hope you will enjoy it too.  It is by Darren Poke and is called Always Take The High Road.

The second post fresh off the press from Doris Belland is called What Do You Say And Do When Someone Dies?  I appreciated Doris' reminder "Food first, flowers later".

In some ways we are a disparate group with differences spanning age, religion, politics, means, family experiences, and hobbies.  Even our interest in books can be quite diverse. After 13 years together, despite our many differences, I continue to be reminded that I belong to a special group.

Again I came away refreshed and renewed. These outings force me to slow down, let time stand still and just take it all in. It is my chance to rebalance priorities and put people first. To quote the birthday girl, "Life is rich, and enriched with good friends.  Death is a poignant reminder of our transience on this planet."

Yes, in the glowing warmth of the tall, waxy candles, perhaps we did call it a birthday cake.  But in fact, it was a "life" cake.  Today we celebrated life.

“our life is a journey, and if we stop, things don’t go well.” - Pope Francis I

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