Linking with Laura, sharing a Playdate with God:
The plan for my birthday had been to spend the day giving things away. I’ve lived long and well, and there are few things I really need to make me happy. Besides, I figured handing gifts out to strangers would provide me with some good stories to tell.
Handing out presents was fun, and I had some laughs, but I found the real stories were elsewhere.
Ethel and Rock Star Diva arrived at my house early to begin our day at the beach. Along the way we stopped at Rock Star’s childhood home, and the first gift of the day was getting to see the house that built her.
Our next stop was The Art Cafe.
There was coffee, and there was art.
We chose to skip the coffee and start the day with champagne instead. Then we looked around in the gallery and enjoyed the gift of watching little ones learning to make art, clipping their masterpieces to a clothesline to dry in the summer breeze.
The big project for the day was using making prints using real fish:
So grateful for the beauty of this place and all I had witnessed there, I left a favorite quote by Evelyn Underhill on the outdoor chalkboard:
Our next stop was the trailer owned by Rock Star Diva’s sister. She calls it her tin can on the beach. For the joy of listening to the waves wash ashore each night, and in order to wake each morning to a view like this:
I would gladly spend my summer in a tin can, a shoebox–heck, even a port-a-john. The view was just that lovely, reaching all the way to Martha’s Vineyard. On the beach, Ethel and I were introduced to many lovely people, one of whom had given the gift of a kidney to the sister who sat next to her on the sand.
I thought about how my friend had been blessed last summer, soaking up salt air, summer sun, love and prayer as she sat on her sister’s deck overlooking the ocean while recovering from cancer treatment. This year I received the gift of sitting with her on that same deck, breathing in gratitude for God’s healing work in her life.
The day ended at a local Rhode Island vineyard where we listened to a Beatles cover band named Abbey Rhode. Get it? Beatles cover band? Rhode Island? Their music was every bit as good as that joke.
But we raised our glasses and toasted our friendship, celebrating a day none of us wanted to see reach its end.
The celebration ended, or so I thought. As it turned out, my friends had taken me to the beach and to a Rhode Island vineyard merely as a ruse to distract me from finding out what they were really planning:
The next evening, at a local Connecticut vineyard, there was food, there was music; there were balloons, bubbles, and laughter. There were friends ranging in age from two to sixty:
There were friends I’ve watched grow from children into young adults, and I realized that one of the gifts of getting older is the joy of seeing God’s faithfulness throughout the years in the lives of those whom I love:
Ethel made cupcakes and made magic, because that’s just what she does. I encouraged all the little ones to be sure to eat at least three cupcakes. It was definitely a three-cupcake kind of night.
At the end of the evening, I gave away my last unbirthday gift to Lauri, who blogs at Living to Die Well.:
Lauri had left me a comment on my blog, telling me a story about an unbirthday gift she had given. And, as I’ve always said, tell me a story and I’ll love your forever. (Okay, I’ve never actually said that but, to steal a line from Harrison Ford in Sabrina, it sounds like something I would say)
Lauri is a huge fan of the noble giraffe, and since I’d found this giraffe dress in a thrift store the day before I decided to declare her the first runner-up in my unbirthday give-away. I figured it was my contest so I could do whatever I wanted.
At the end of another perfect summer evening, (How many perfect summer evenings is one old, gray-haired woman entitled to enjoy?) I received a final gift from the hand of my loving Father:
Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5, NIV