Yes, today it is finally here – the milestone birthday (UGH!)
I was thinking back just 10 years ago at this time – my dad had passed away a few months prior, and I used another milestone birthday as an excuse to take my mom (with my aunt as her chosen guest) on an Alaskan cruise. Somehow I knew it would be my last chance to do something like that with her and it was – I’m very glad I did.
It’s hard to believe in 2011 on this day, I was in the throes of my “dark days.” My mom had a brief respite from her hospital/rehab stays and was home, but needed a lot of help. She was well enough to spend some time at her church, training someone to take over her former job of handling their prison correspondence ministry. The day of my birthday, I had dropped her off to spend a few hours working there. When I picked her up, she was chatting with the little guy who was the maintenance man, who she liked very much. As I got out to help her into the car, she gleefully informed me that it was his birthday. She and I went to have lunch afterwards and I took her home – and she never said one word about my birthday. For the first time in my life, she’d forgotten. (And she didn’t realize it until over a week later, when I absentmindedly made reference to my birthday in something I said.) It was my last birthday with her. (Thankfully, we had a nice celebration for hers just a few months later.)
That same day, I sat across the table from my husband, having dinner at one of my favorite casual places (my choice). We enjoyed a nice meal and amicable evening, all the while I was suspecting he was preparing to leave me. Sure enough, just over 2 weeks later, he did.
That was all just 4 years ago. And although there is no such thing as a perfect life on this side, God has certainly “set my feet in a spacious place.” (Psalm 31:7-8)
All of that happened in 2011. But even prior to that, the number 11 (and specifically 11:11) began to be highlighted to me (see story here). Not only has it not stopped, but I continue to see it frequently and it continues to play a significant role in events in my life. It was a long time before I started to understand it. I eventually came to learn that 11 is the Biblical number of transition, which I certainly was in at that time. But I also believe it was highlighting a larger significance that I had long been having an increasing awareness of – that we were entering THE transition time from this age to the next.
At some point I went from just having an awareness of that, to realizing that part of my destiny and calling was to give witness to it – that we are in the “11th hour.” Then, just the other day, I made another crazy discovery. A recollection arose that I then confirmed when I checked my birth certificate – it says I was born at 11:12 p.m. But most of us know how things happen in delivery rooms – the baby is born and the immediate things attended to and then someone looks at the clock and notes the time. So what you wanna bet I was actually born at 11:11 (and on the 22nd, which is double 11)?! Then I decided to look up the cultural definition of the phrase “11th hour” and here is exactly what Wikipedia says: “The Eleventh Hour is a phrase meaning ‘late in the day’, taken from a passage in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard in the King James Bible.”
One other interesting tidbit. I’ve long known that most scholars agree that Jesus was not born on December 25. There are many evidences for this, including that is not a time of year that shepards would have been in the fields, because it is too cold. That day was a former pagan holiday marking the winter solstice and was adapted in the 4th century by a newly “Christianized” Roman government and renamed “Jesus’ birthday.” I also knew that most scholars also recognize that our calendar is off and that Jesus was actually born sometime around 4-3 B.C. But I just recently learned of a newer theory with some very solid evidence, that Jesus was actually born on September 11, 3 B.C. which in that year was the Jewish New Year, also known as Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets. Our God is quite symbolic, far beyond anything our minds can grasp, and studying the Jewish feasts and how Jesus has and will ultimately fulfill all of them is quite fascinating. Here is a link to whet your appetite and explain the birthday theory (there are many good websites that provide this information, but I picked this one because it was published on December 22, 2011. You already know the 2011 significance. But the December 22 – well, that is my birthmother’s birthday – exactly 9 months before mine! 🙂 )
So there you have it folks, my “cincuenta años” birthday musings as I sit here taking my bee calls today and remembering the wonderful time I was having with my friends last year. (I’ll be enjoying a couple of celebratory outings with friends this week, but the real birthday celebration is a month away – stay tuned for more details!)