I’m having one of those so-called milestone birthdays in a few weeks. On Ash Wednesday. If my birthday wasn’t coinciding with the beginning of Lent, I’d probably ignore it. I mention this not to receive birthday balloons while being signed by ashes, but to note how at this point in my life, other birth-type days have far more significance. Heck, I don’t even remember– does anyone? — the day of my arrival for Earth Duty; good thing, since I was a breach birth. (Too much information? Think of it as an explanation.)
What I can remember are events that delivered the felt experience of being reborn in body, mind, and spirit. These blessed events happened during my early forties and generally after I’d experienced deaths, both real and symbolic.
By then, I was awake enough to know a new me was being birthed. I was aware enough to feel the birthing pains and “ouch” is an understatement. At age 43, I was finally willing to acknowledge my powerlessness over all sorts of stuff. It was time to turn everything over to God. I sought and received baptism within the same year. These are the days of birth for which I light candles and am delighted to receive well wishes.
Having a big birthday on the first day of Lent is a great reminder of all this, along with an invitation to spend forty days discovering more.