It’s my birthday. I got a voicemail from The Father of My Children, otherwise known as my first ex-husband (X-1?) , because that’s how tacky my life became over the past year, and it was a nice call, wishing me a Happy Birthday, and when I called him back to thank him he said, “Is it 50?”
The words dropped hard.
Yes. Yes, it is.
Fifty. Halfway to Hockey and Virginia, the 100-year-olds in my congregation. Twice as many as my oldest child. A landmark.
But in the mirror this morning, I looked the same as yesterday, a short woman in the back half of midlife, with hair regularly sweetened and skin almost as good as it ever was and only a few lines so far, with the addition of eyes puffy from an unsettled night’s sleep.
I have a lot to dream about, a lot the unconscious still needs to process.
Later I got a card from a college friend, quoting Leviticus (because that’s a birthday friendly book of the Bible, right?): “Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you.” (Lev. 25:10)
And I find I sort of like this idea, though I grant my grasp on the whole Jubilee concept is slight. It means freeing slaves and forgiving debts, and I could use a bit of all that. I have a lot of forgiving to do, of others and of myself.
So I’m starting today. It’s been said by someone who knows me well that I am too inclined to let go of debts owed by men and equally likely to retain those of women in my life. This may or may not include myself.
Okay, it includes myself.
And this may or may not be a result of the way I was raised and a reflection on the person who hurt me most. Or the persons.
But I’m 50, and jubilation must ensue. Holding onto things I cannot forgive, refusing to trust again, seems foolish. Time is short. (Don’t tell Hockey and Virginia I said that; they would have to laugh. But it’s true for most of us.)
This afternoon I’m considering the possibilities, admitting I’m hard to win over again, thinking of debts I am ready to forgive and pushing on the way I want to hold them, tight, then gently bending my fingers back in hopes of proclaiming liberty throughout the land.