My birthday began with an ominous forewarning. Sitting by the window, watching golden tipped birch leaves flutter aimlessly to the ground below, a bird of unknown origin sans functional GPS, crashed into the window. Hard. It fell less gracefully than the falling leaves to the patio below. I pronounced the poor thing dead of a broken neck and vowed to provide proper burial.
Fast forward to Happy Birthday party evening. Hands held around the table, heads bowed for a birthday blessing. I offered up thanks for my family and the gift of another year of life. My 4 year old grandson, not to be outdone, asked to offer up his own prayer and blessing.
It went something like,
no correct that, EXACTLY like this…
Happy Birthday Grandma, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under….
The Pledge of Allegiance taught in Pre-School that morning, seeped into his birthday prayer wishes and melted everyone at the table into stifled giggles.
Ah. Out of the mouths of babes.
Later on, dirty dishes washed and put away, toys corralled, and once again a quiet house, his words echoed in my head.
Made me smile.
Is this not truly where we all stand today? Between a rock and a hard place, like my window. Between a prayer and a pledge. Wondering where to turn and asking how did we get here. Looking for a way to pull us all together when we stand so divided.
Young minds have yet to build a historical memoir. A timeline over more than a decade or two. Perspective. How big a deal is all of this or how small? Is victory and peace possible or simply beyond reach? Must one half win and the other half lose?
Fall…the falling leaves. I am in this season of life. I am old enough to have my own encyclopedia, not wikipedia, to know that everything comes and goes. This too shall pass, is the simple recognition of one breath in and one breath out. A span of time in which this becomes now and now becomes then.
Older now, I know that one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all is constantly moving and evolving. Younger souls see only the now and have so much less of then to balance upon. We, the elders, know that in the past six or seven decades, divisiveness has come and gone like the incoming tide and the outgoing flow.
No history lesson here or preaching. Rather a lesson from a child for us to find comfort and confidence that we all rise and fall, rise and fall over and over again in our lifetimes. Without this tidal flow, we would never grow or learn. The ebb tide grants us a moment of rest to see things as they really are, before the waves topple us over in the surf.
We can do this.
We can do as we have done so many times before. We can look upon one another to find good in what seems hopeless.
We can find joy out of despair, and strength in our ability to believe in each other’s goodness.
How do I know? Because a child recited…and to the Republic on which we stand, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
Child like faith is a tonic for Elder fatigue.
Oh and that little birdie, whom I doomed to extinction? It had a bit of a headache, flexed its wings and returned to the sky.
You too can fly, can soar, can balance on the crest of the wave and ride it safely and successfully to shore.
Life is never a gentle ride, but each day is a gift. Just like a birthday. So make a wish, blow out the candles, and write your own history. Ignore the headlines.
It is a good day to be alive.
Not just for me.
But for everyone of you.
If you still don’t believe me,
and have no idea what in the world these multicolored little fellows are, trust me.
There is always room for improvement.
We just need to be creative.