Tomorrow is my birthday.
4 years ago on my birthday I woke up to the news that my dad had passed away earlier that same morning. The night before, I asked his caretaker to put the phone up to his ear so I could tell him that I loved him. He was past the stage of alertness but my hope was that he could somehow still hear my words. I went to bed later that night with this strange mixture of emotions welling up inside me. My dad’s life would end…on my birthday. I somehow knew I would be hearing that news the next day. I just knew.
I guess a normal belief would be to think that losing a loved one on your birthday would somehow taint the specialness of a joyful day….a day when you celebrate being born. But as I lay there in bed that night, tears in my eyes, I was slightly surprised that there was something else other than sadness bringing me to tears.
It was, instead, a profound understanding that the God “who knit me together in my mother’s womb” knew me so well. He knew me. He knew just how much, over the years, I’ve treasured uncovering and discovering the redeemable beauty in sorrow. It was a treasure I started to uncover when I was a teenager…sitting by my mom’s side as her battle with cancer ended.
The God of the universe knew that I carried that precious moment with me like sustenance for a long journey.
He knew that I carried it with me like a precious gift, a family heirloom.
He knew that I carried that moment like a compass that I took out when I needed a reminder that this…this is not my home.
Losing my dad on the day of my birth is another one of those surprising gifts (a gift that is only a gift when peering through the spiritual eyes of hope) that I carry along with me on this beautiful, amazing journey called LIFE.