Consider the Lilies is 101 posts old with these lines I now write!
I, however, who celebrated my birth yesterday, have not reached so significant a number in the eyes of many. I like my years, though. The cumulation of experience has taught me much about things important and trivial…what it feels like to love, the deep brown-burgundy of a buckeye fresh from its husk, how to change homes and be okay, how to make friends, the taste of Pablo Neruda’s poetry, the awareness of sacred nearness in a hummingbird fly-by, the grace of being patient and calm enough to have butterflies land on my toes while reading in the sunshine, how to laugh, how to be compassionate toward someone who has caused great pain, why man hole covers are round, the collective noun for a bunch of rhinos, and how to say “little dog” in Portugese.
Yesterday my day began with bringing treats for the faculty and kids. Together, they ceremoniously inhaled two batches of dense Midwestern seven-layer-cookies while wishing me well. Some of my kids asked for the recipe. It’s a funny thing writing baking instructions for an 11 year old. I sent a copy to someone else and their response was “I think this might be the best thing I read all day. I particularly like the advice to punch two holes in the top of the sweetened condensed milk can before pouring.” Later in the evening, the student sent me an email thanking me for taking the time to send her the recipe…and she had “proudly told my family that my teacher baked her own birthday treats and they were REALLY GOOD.”
My school day ended with another student encounter. I walked out to leave and there was a clump of kids waiting to be picked up. They were in day’s end high spirits, it was coming on dark, and the moon was out. I stopped to chat with them and we ended up standing there, heads tipped skyward, pointing to the moon and discussing whether we could see the man in the moon or a woman with long hair playing a piano. (I had a friend in Middle and High school who taught me to see her.)
I walked away smiling to myself and full of thanksgiving. I think it was Teresa of Ávila who said “All the way home IS heaven.” I understood a little of that in a new way yesterday. Never too old to learn.