|At dinner on my 28th birthday. First birthday with Nick since I turned 23!|
But on many levels, I do think 27 has been a defining year in a number of ways. I have always joked that the actual definition of being an adult is having the old person trifecta: 1) a spouse, 2) a baby, and 3) a mortgage. Despite still having just one of the three boxes checked, I feel like I could now add a catchall 4th option: Any of the above three and/or you are 27 years old. I feel like, more than in other years, my 27th year was filled with milestones and life lessons that were clearly telling me I've crossed to the other side, regardless of what my own criteria may have been. And once on the other side, the lessons seem to strike harder and sink deeper. So rather than recap the year, as I did at new years, I thought I'd touch on some of the new understandings I have.
|A picture from the birthday golf round!|
Another round of lessons, sadly, has been in my understanding of tragedies. I have touched on this a number of times in my recent reflections, of Khalil Gibran's ruminations about the interconnectedness of joy and sorrow. That our experience with sorrow increases our experiences with joy. That's all well and good, however, it doesn't prevent fatal accidents of brave heroes serving overseas. And it doesn't cure stage-four cancer among even the most joyful of believers. I have always known (in my head) that believing in God does not keep tragedy from affecting your life. But I feel like this year, I came to really know that. After watching dear friends go through unexplainable, devastating tragedies losing people they love---even tiny babies---way too soon, my only reaction at the end of the day is to take a deep breath... in... out... and accept that I don't have the answers. Life is mysterious. God is even more mysterious. And joys and tragedies will make their way onto our doorstep at random or like clockwork throughout our time on this planet. And at the end of the year, I can still choose to be joyful living in the mystery, especially after just a few moments ago looking at a photo album of a friend who endured three miscarriages in the past few years... a friend who now holds her precious miracle in her arms :)
|Flying solo at a church potluck (I won the potato contest!)|
|Me and Jane... I mean, Mom|
And on that note of thank you, thanks to all of you who make such an effort to keep in touch. For those who read regularly, for those who read sporadically, for those who don't read but call or email, for those who send me mail because you know it feels like summer camp when I get mail here, and for all of you who used my birthday as an opportunity to remind me I'm not as far away as I think... thank you! Keeping in touch truly is the best birthday gift of all. I look forward to hearing from you all more throughout my tenure at twenty-eight. And hey, the way the post office works around here, pretty sure my birthday will be continuing at the mailbox every day for the next few weeks or so! Woohoo!