Today is my son’s birthday; he is three. A couple of week’s ago was my daughter’s birthday; she turned eight. We stop the routine to celebrate them. We are thankful for the day of their birth; the day they began experiencing life.
I was thinking about them and their birthdays yesterday and realized that it has been ten years this year that I chose to live. Up until that point, I was existing in a selfish pursuit of comfort and indulgence. There is really no life in the living that I was doing, with everything being on the surface and completely contingent on my personal satisfaction in the moment. My moods, actions and reactions were entirely driven by the anticipated result for me.
In 2001, I chose Life, which was available all along. The irony is/was that in order to experience Life, there had to be death. Death to my arrogance to allow for the fact that I just can’t do it. I am not designed to have everything perfectly figured out and under my control. As a result, I had to quit trying and admit that the effort was a perpetual lie. Life rose up where it had been restrained and, little by little, started to ooze out of me.
This exchange works itself out, with me overtaking the presence of Life in me to look like the old me sometimes. You can tell when it’s Life coming out of me by the gentleness, kindness, self-control, love, joy, peace and patience. You can tell it’s still the me that’s not yet dead to self by the envy, greed, insecurity, hostility and other junk that I’d rather not be known for.
The transformation is ongoing but starts with a birth day; a day that we say “yes” to Life in an acknowledgment that our way brings death. A line in the sand that on this day I declare a submission to the Greatness calling out from within me. This declaration of acceptance begins a life-long walk towards the fullness of our destiny and a deep relational knowledge of the Life born from within us at that moment where we quit trying.
So this is the anniversary of my birth-year in a sense. It’s been a decade of pursuit and of finding. The finding comes in the middle of celebrations as well as suffering. The rewards are satisfying and eternal. The challenges are invitations and temporary. The exchange is infinitely valuable.