Today is my birthday and I believe in remembering birthdays with gusto. It’s a celebration of presents, candles, cake, and special wishes. It’s a day to honor life, reflect, and set goals for the future.
THE SPIRITUAL IS STRONGER...
“Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
On his 59th birthday, philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson and his son Edward tried to move their stubborn calf into the barn. Both pushed and pulled the animal, without success. A servant girl happened by, stuck her finger in the calf’s mouth, and the besotted bovine followed the lass into the barn.
“Life is a progress, and not a station,” Emerson wrote. What was his birthday lesson? Progress sometimes comes with ingenuity, not brute force.
FIND A REMEDY...
“Don’t find a fault, find a remedy.” ~ Henry Ford
Birthdays are the perfect excuse to find a remedy with a special ritual. The millionaire who began assembly-line auto production, Henry Ford would put an old shoe on his foot every birthday to remind himself that he had once been poor and could be poor again.
LIFE IS TOO SHORT...
"Life is too short to have the dearest of its enjoyments curtailed." ~ Abigail Smith Adams
Wife of one President, mother to another, Abigail Adams wrote those words two days after her 37th birthday. A gifted and prolific writer, she was an inspirational patriot during the Revolutionary War. Her reflections became a priceless documentation of an important time in history.
With countless separations from her husband, Abigail knew about life’s fleetingness and the precious need we all have to live life fully.
A LUMINOUS HALO...
"Life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning." ~ Virginia Woolf
Passionate diary keeper Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) wrote the day after her 38th birthday: “Yesterday being my birthday and a clear, bright day into the bargain showing many greens and yellow flushes on the trees, I went to South Kensington and heard Mozart and Beethoven.”
I think my choices for today will be Springsteen and Crow.
Humorist Dave Barry on turning 50: “You find that with your reading glasses on you behave differently. You become crotchety and easily irritated by little things.”
Thomas Merton on his 45th birthday: “Life is a gift I am glad of, and I do not curse the day when I was born. On the contrary, if I had never been born, I would never have had friends to love and to be loved by, never have made mistakes to learn from, never have seen new countries. As for what I have suffered, it is inconsequential and indeed part of the great good which life has been and will, I hope, continue to be.”
It is truly a gift to be alive.