Since I was born in 1945, this was the year I was scheduled to turn 70. For many weeks leading up to August 8, though, I was dreading it.
Seventy! Threescore and ten. According to the Bible, once you reach that age even your best days are full of sorrow. “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow.” (Psalm 90:10)
None of that sounded good, and I didn’t feel like celebrating. But with daughter Linnea and her family of six staying with me, how could I disappoint the children? “You know how important birthdays are to kids,” she said. So I decided to swallow my worries and go with the flow.
Linnea and Louisa put together a lively family celebration that included streamers, glitter, balloons, spaghetti with all the trimmings, made-from-scratch cakes, gifts, and 29 relatives. The house was rockin’ with joy and gladness, and the 15 kids on hand weren’t the only ones who had fun. I did, too.
The next morning my three daughters had a much smaller celebration in mind – brunch for just the four of us. But before we left, Klaus came by and gave me a gift I’d been hoping for: a birthday motorcycle ride. “I’ll take you to the restaurant, Mom,” he said, and off we went.
The girls followed by car, but that was the end of what I thought was planned.
When we walked into the restaurant, 20-plus friends came out of hiding singing “Happy Birthday” in three part harmony!
But there was more….
Linnea shared memories of being raised in our family, touching my heartstrings in deeply emotional ways. Her loving words warm me still. I know it wasn’t easy for her, especially when talking about her father, but she did a wonderful job and blessed us all in the process.
And then, dear blog readers, came the grand finale. YOUR gift!
Mary had collaborated with several others to notify you of my birthday. And the giant box in my living room today is overflowing with your greeting cards, some I haven’t even opened yet! Feeling overwhelmed with your kindness, all I can do is express a huge “THANK YOU” to each of you in these words, hoping you feel my intense gratitude!
These cards will re-gift themselves as I go through them slowly for the second time during this year-of-70. And in trying to bless-you-back, I plan to use the words you wrote to me, to pray blessing back over you.
Now, as I look back at turning 70, I can see God in a fresh way. Isn’t it just like him to take an event I was dreading and flip-flop it, transforming it into a day of joy?
“God, who is enthroned from of old, does not change.” (Psalm 55:19)