Image courtesy of Pixabay
Although it is generally known,
I think it’s about time to announce
that I was born at a very early age.
Russ Van Valkenburg was born in 1928. So were Edward Albee, Maya Angelou and Alvin Toffler. Some names are known in a small community, some nationally and some worldwide. No one is born with the intention of becoming world famous.
Babies are born every minute to the delight of their families. Each baby fascinates those of us who have lived for a while and reminds us of what it means to be human. Babies discover the world about them one marvel at a time and we have the opportunity to watch their adventures.
It’s easy to take life for granted until’ the delight of a baby or the misfortune of an illness makes us realize just how precious life is. As the years pass, we learn to appreciate our gifts such as physical strength, intelligence, creativity and social skills. We also discover our hopes and dreams. Eventually we become aware of our limitations.
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in Russ’s eightieth birthday gathering. I didn’t have to do it by myself. His wife of sixty-one years headed the group of well-wishers including family and friends of all ages. I counted myself fortunate to participate in his celebration. Having weathered the ups and downs which all of us encounter over the years, Russ played the gracious host, enjoying the presence of each guest and being sure everyone knew how happy he was to share his birthday with them.
Joy filled the day. I heard no harsh words, saw no cross glances and felt no antagonism from anyone in attendance. What would it be like to live in a world where everyone acted the way guests did at Russ’s birthday party? What if we could all get along, find a reason to celebrate with each other and enjoy each other’s company?
We tend to see ourselves as owner of our little corner of the earth rather than guests at life’s party. Maybe it’s all in our perspective. We don’t have as much control over our lives as we would like to think. Life invites us to share in the pageant of the universe and navigate with a body we use during our time on earth. We don’t know how long we will be here or what we will be able to accomplish.
We do have some control over what effect we have on people, how they think of us and how they will remember us. The house we live in, what car we drive, and how much money we accumulate aren’t that important in the long run. I consider myself fortunate to be touched by the magic of Russ’s life and to have had some small part in his life adventure so far.
- If today is your birthday, stop to count your life blessings and thank God for them.
- If it’s not your birthday, count your blessings and give thanks anyway.
- Be thankful for the many people who have touched your life.
- Give thanks for those who have touched your life in silent ways.
- Celebrate the life you have to live just for today.