It's the first thing I think in the morning when I open my eyes and see the light filtering down from the skylight onto my beautiful gray walls.
It's usually the last thing I think when I return to my bed after the (usually long) day and contemplate the quiet.
I am so blessed.
I am. There's no doubt about it.
My life is full - of really, really good people, of kids (lots of kids!), of joy. I have warmth, protection from the heat and rain and snow, nourishment, a soft bed. The fact that these things are also beautiful and lovely is just grace.
Which is why it breaks my heart a little to remember that on this day a year ago, I struggled to be anything but devastated. I thought that this was probably due, at least in part, to the fact that the previous two weeks had been filled with travel, vacationing, and friends. My birthday neatly coincided with the first day back to "real life" and the inevitable emotional letdown. And I tried hard to convince myself that was the only reason.
I remember that every time I looked in the mirror that day, the gray hairs that had begun to sprout in the past year laughed at me. I don't know why, but they made me feel like a failure - like time was slipping through my fingers and I still hadn't figured out a way to matter. To be worth anything.
It was a complicated time in my life, and I was tired, and a bit conflicted, and months later, I would struggle with God for wisdom, and He would supply it (along with a new level of peace). But on that day, all I felt was sad.
I want to go back and hug that girl, and laugh, and say, "If you thought three gray hairs were bad, wait until you see the 'glitter strands' in your head now. And if you thought gray hair was disaster, now you have wrinkles!"
(They're so obviously formed by smiling, I can't regret them even a little bit. In fact, I'm kind of fond of them. There was a time in my life when I thought I'd never spend enough time smiling to cause wrinkles.)
And I'd want to tell that girl, "In this moment, right now, you have all the pieces of your happiness already. You haven't quite figured out how to put them together yet, but you will. Nothing in your life will change in the next year, except you, but you will be happy. So happy, in fact, that you can't imagine anyone you'd be willing to trade lives with. Don't let people talk you out of your joy."
Happy birthday to that girl. You are blessed.