When the caller ID showed it was my friend Sandy I grabbed a tissue. I knew why she was calling so I expected to get a little weepy. I’d texted her the night before to ask for prayer.
At one point in the conversation I heard myself say, “I’ve gotten to the point I dread my birthday. Some big meltdown always happens.”
While that sounds like an overly dramatic fatigue fueled statement I could make a list of the eventful things that have happened in the last ten Octobers to prove the point.
“I’m just so tired. I wonder if I’m ever going to get a break.”
“I know. It’s got to be hard,” she said. “But, here’s the thing, your family needs you so you will battle through. If I know anything about you it’s that you can do this. This is why God put you on this earth Kären—you’re a warrior.”
Tears were pouring down my cheeks. It’s hard for me to receive encouragement like this because to say you’re a warrior sounds prideful. But, for all I’d like to argue the point, time may have proven it to be true.
“I know,” I said. “But why does something always happen around my birthday. Can’t I just have a no-drama week?”
“Well maybe things like this are supposed to happen around your birthday to remind you of your purpose—what God created your life for.”
“Maybe,” I said not wanting to believe her.
When I stopped at Starbucks later that morning I found a dime and penny waiting for me just below the counter. Eleven, I thought—my lucky number. I pocketed the coins and headed back to my car only to find another dime. Ten-eleven—my birthday.
Still feeling shaky I stopped at my Mom’s hoping for another pep talk. I told her what was going on and asked, “Mom, am I ever going to get a break?”
“No,” she said from her rocking chair steeped with wisdom. “By now I think you’d have figured that out.”
I gave her a frustrated look.
Oh geez I thought, nobody is willing to let me out of this. I smiled faintly at my Mom but didn’t argue with her. I know better than that. While I heard her reminder the emotional fatigue hadn’t been erased.
I drug myself to yoga a few hours later. I suspected my friend Alan had planned a little celebration and didn’t want to disappoint him. Sure enough he’d brought cupcakes—lots of them. When our instructor politely asked how old I was I said, “53”.
“You’re in the prime of your life then,” he said.
“It doesn’t always feel that way.”
“But you are,” he said. “I think 53 might even be a prime pair. Maybe not technically, but figuratively it is for sure.”
I’m not a numbers person so it took a minute for me to realize what he was saying.
“I hadn’t thought of that.”
Leftover cupcakes in hand I walked to my car while the sun was setting over the Monument. It looked like a blazing penny slipping behind the rocks. My fatigue fell with it. Watching the sun set I thought back to a few seasons in my life where I wasn’t sure if emotionally or physically I would even make it this far. But like Sandy reminded me I did. A drama-free birthday would be nice but it wouldn’t do much to remind me what I was born for.
When I got home my sweetie, the boys, and their adopted big sister Meloni were waiting to celebrate. Gathered around our table I was reminded that these are the people I’m here to fight for. Yes sometimes I feel tired, but feelings betray us all the time. The truth is I really am in the prime of my life and God created me for this.
I don’t know what next October will bring, but my prayer for the year ahead is that God will remind me daily what my purpose is. That’s where I’ll find the energy and strength I need, not in looking for a way around.
It’s my prayer for you too—that He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion. Or as Paul said, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)