1) Pushing the snooze button. The day started with pushing the button not once but three times so I could stay in bed and snuggle with Craig.
2) Pampering myself at a day spa. My appointments started at 9:00 and included a massage during which I learned just how stressed I am as she kneaded the knots in my upper back, a facial where I learned that the oily skin I complain about is actually making my skin look younger, and a haircut where I spotted Newt Gingrich getting a shampoo before having him in the chair next to mine while we both got haircuts. It took all that I had to refrain from telling him that his brilliant Contract with America is the reason I lost my job in 1994.
3) Breaking bread with my husband. I then met Craig at an amazing restaurant in Old Town where we over indulged on an exquisite meal made possible by a very generous gift certificate from my in-laws. The staff went out of their way to make us feel special. We held hands. We gave thanks. We laughed. It was wonderful. I really am married to someone who is unlike anyone I have ever met before. Craig is the kindest person I have ever met - someone who constantly makes me a better person while also making more of me. Here's to the start of our 4th year together, love of my life.
4) Being a pastor. The day continued with a stop at the hospital where one of my favorite church members has been for the last month. Howard will turn 103 next Friday. For the last six years, I have seen Howard twice a week on most weeks as he rarely missed being in church on Sunday and was also a regular participant in our weekly Bible study at the home where he lives. Howard is someone who has affirmed my gifts often. He is someone who has regularly taught me that it is far better to give than it is to receive. He is someone who was reluctant to see change at the church and voted against the sale of the church property only to become one of the members who regularly gets excited by all the new people at church. Howard is now in that thin space where heaven and earth collide. His body and his spirit are exhausted. He refuses to eat. And while he sang, "He Lives," to me almost every day last week, he now cannot seem to muster the strength to sing so I sang to him today, repeating those familiar words about our risen Savior who is in the world today. I prayed the entire time I was with him that I could hold back my tears until I got into my car only to discover tears streaming down my face as I sat next to his bed with my hand on his shoulder, poking him until he would open his eyes so I could tell him once more how much he means to me. I know that I'll soon say good-bye to this wondrous gift in my life - one who has reminded me often of how being a pastor is a privilege that none of us are worthy of. It was a blessing to be reminded of this gift on my birthday.
5) Being loved by friends and family. I've concluded today that everyone should be a Facebook user on their birthday. If one does not use it any other day of the year, one should sign onto Facebook on the day of their birthday and see what an amazing gift it is to receive birthday greetings from 200 people from every stage of life - birth to now, elementary school to college, people I see often and people I have not seen in 20 years.
I'm thankful. I'm thankful to be alive. I'm thankful to be married to Craig. I'm thankful to live in Washington. I'm thankful to be a pastor. I'm thankful for the gift of another year. And I am thankful to know that my Savior lives and promises me that all will be well no matter what tomorrow or any day in the future holds.
Here's to my final year of being in my 30s!