I was born on a Tuesday, I think. My mother described the story of my birth day as one filled with her hope for a Valentine’s Day baby. She did everything she could to induce labor. My arrival came a day later at 6:05pm. Clearly a long couple of days for her…
If you were to look at my astrological chart you would see that the timing of my birth indicates that this is a transformational life time for me. My chart has a significant T-square configuration between some key planets, one of which is Neptune. I no longer remember all the details of this – only that a T-square is significant. The person who did my chart told me, “With this aspect of Neptune you have two choices – you can live a life of confusion, possible addiction OR you can lead a life that develops a deeper spiritual dimension.”
It’s curious that in astrology Neptune is the planet the rules both the hidden negative aspects of confusion and addiction AND the aspects for deepening a spiritual life. Fascinating that both of these aspects have been the substance of my life. Not that I personally have struggled with addiction – but it is all over the place in my family – mostly through the men in my family and my husband’s family. Thankfully efforts at recovery have been successful. So I have struggled with the impact of living in an addictive family system. I have also devoted my life to growing an ever deeper relationship with God, through Jesus.
On this day of my birth I am thinking about the trajectory of my life and the various twists and turns that could have taken me in different directions.
Considering that Lent has just begun, pondering directions is relevant for reasons other than just a birth day reflection. Jan Richardson, in her on-line Lenten retreat is pondering themes of “Migration” and “return” and “landscape.” Birthday reflection encourage similar ponderings: where have come from and where am I going and why? How did I get here? Did I arrive where I am in life by some innate inner sense of migration that is stored in my bones and propels me along the way?
Maybe God’s breath, breathing within me has afforded me a kind of rhythm that guides the directions I have taken. Even when I have made a turn that has turned out poorly, God has been there, breathing life into my lungs with my newborn crying out. Breathing life into me when anxiety stifles my breath and the weight of fear crashes in. God’s breath in, out, soothing, calling me to turn and return to breath. To God, to life, to peace.
Each year, on the day of my birth I turn my thoughts to this journey. I return to the story of my birth and the story of my life, surveying the landscape, making note of the terrain.
Today I begin my 56th year. I have been through some very rugged times, days when I wished to die rather than continue on. Seriously. (Not that I “had plan”…but the suffering was tremendous). But right now, this day, this moment, all is well in my life.
I have lived long enough to know that this could all change in a moment. One phone call, one something. And poof! gone.
So, I embrace this moment and give thanks to God for the gift of life. I give thanks that God journeys with, up and over the hills and valleys and plains. I give thanks even for the rough and rugged places which have chipped away at my fears and helped me become a bit stronger and wiser and more compassionate. I know that I had a choice in this. I could have become bitter, angry, dried up and shriveled. But I chose to remain open to the possibility of God, even when I was uncertain of the reality of God.
Return, oh migratory restless soul of mine, to a place of peace, momentary though it may be. May this day bring some respite in the breath of God. May I always have the courage to embrace fully the landscape of my life. Through all the “aspects” of life, rejoice with me on this day of my birth, as on your day of birth, and give thanks for the gift of life.