Today is my mom’s birthday. I won’t tell you how old she is. I don’t think she’d appreciate that. It’s not really the number of years that matters anyway. I celebrate today because it reminds me that this all started somewhere, in a place and at a time when no one knew a thing about what she’d do or who she’d be. I celebrate today because it reminds me that once, my mother was helpless and vulnerable and carried the unknown weight of expectations just like any other newborn. I celebrate today because, while I do not know what was expected of her from parents, siblings and society at her birth, our history tells me that she has and continues to live a life worth remembering. I celebrate today because my mother has loved well – God, me, my wife, our family, coworkers, friends, the church, etc. I celebrate today because I’m grateful God brought her into the world some years ago.
In recent months, I’ve experienced a renewed sense of urgency in my relationships with those I care most deeply about. The reality that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed has come into view with vivid clarity. This is a strange paradox. I believe the New Testament Gospels very literally, so resurrection and hope for eternity are very real anchors for me. But I’ve come to find that while these anchors keep me still and steady, they do not alleviate this peculiar urgency about the here and now. Maybe this isn’t something to be alleviated but embraced? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am becoming more acutely aware of my need to enjoy shared moments as they’re given because shared moments are gifts, each one is unique and another one is never promised. I think this is why pictures are helpful. They’re snapshots of these unique moments and they remind us of something so much bigger and fuller than the picture itself.
So today, my mom’s birthday, is a snapshot that reminds me of something much bigger and fuller. It’s a snapshot that reminds me of a life well lived, full of love and hope, marked by faithfulness and sacrifice, driven by conviction and expressed in grace. Happy birthday Mom. You’re my hero.