Have you ever lived out a near perfect week?
One where all the right things were said. One where you get to sit and rest in all the right moments without feeling it passed you by before you could take it in.
That was my week.
It was a gift to me from my Robbie as I turned 30 on October 17th.
And like all millennials I pretend to be all cool cool cool about 30. Realistically inside I’m all no no no! But seriously, how can I already be 30? And I hardly even make the cut to be a young and hip millennial, which is not so cool cool cool either.
But on Monday morning before Robbie left for work he told me that this was my birthday week and each day we would focus on a different era of my life (0-5, elementary school, high school, TWU, and Alberta, Family, and my 30 year old 2017 life). Robbie had planned activities relating to each era in my life so far. For example on Thursday, which was focussed on my TWU days, Diane Schock and I watched a recap video from the 2010 Olympics (and we totally cried, not schocking at all). On Friday, the Alberta era day I listened to Alberta Bound by Paul Brandt (I cried again) and watched a promo video for sweet little Camrose.
So there was no escaping 30.
On Monday I didn’t know exactly how the week would shake out. I just knew we were going to Harrison Hot Springs for a night and I hoped I didn’t have to make dinner every night since it was a birthday week. Seemed like a reasonable expectation, am I right?
(Disclaimer: I still made dinner a few times, did the laundry, changed diapers, used a lot of dry shampoo and put a certain toddler in many time outs this week. Just keeping it real, because these things had to get done after all.)
On the way into Harrison on Monday afternoon we listened to Peter Gzowski and Stuart McClean and the song John Riley which are part of my first clear memories as a kid (p.s. no one sings John Riley like my Dad). We were off to a great, nostalgic start.
On Monday night I got a message from my Dad and a call from my Mom telling me what they remembered of me as a little girl. My parents have always been incredibly affirming and loving so this was not abnormal, but it filled me with so much love.
On Tuesday (the big day) I started getting calls and messages from my siblings throughout the day. Still pretty typical, but again so lovely. We decided to grab lunch at Rocko’s Diner in Mission, which is where they film Riverdale (no link here because I’m ashamed I’ve watched it), a throwback to Archie comics since this was the elementary school day. As we were parking I saw a call from the beautiful Zoë Abreder, my childhood beloved, dear friend. I went to pick up the call, I looked at Robbie and said “Wow, Zoë is calling. That’s so nice.” He just said “Oh really, Zoë is calling” with a huge smirk on his face.
And being the Hercule Poirot genius that I am, I began to detect a pattern.
That pattern would repeat itself several times throughout each day. I would tell Robbie “Oh so and so called/is calling me or messaged/just messaged me.”
“Oh so and so? Really…. that’s soooo interesting.”
*cue big smirk from Robbie and a satisfied fit of laughter*
And they kept coming. Calls and messages from key people in my life who have impacted me personally; as mentors, as close friends and kindred spirits, as a kick in the butt to not be so humble in a very important interview (hmm, that seems oddly specific), as my students and close coworkers, and even old, beloved friends I have not heard from in a long long time.
To sum it up my cup is overflowing. It is overflowing as it ever has been.
I have and always will be an affirmation girl, through and through so this was like experiencing the first bite of a chocolate covered marshmallow bar for my soul, over and over again.
Some consistent themes emerged and I’m going to be working through and with those themes probably until my 40th birthday (yup, that felt too soon to think about. Cool cool cool).
These conversations and affirmations have filled me with hope, they have brought me healing, they have bowled me right over with perspective of a life imperfectly lived, but full of grace.
I like, most people, am often unsettled in myself. I can feel this uneasiness in the very vulnerable question I ask myself in many seasons ’am I loved and lovable?’
And isn’t this what we all wonder? Do people see us? Do they really see us for who we are? Do they perceive my insecurities or misjudge my confidence as pride? Do they judge me for my quirks? Do they despise who I am because of their experience with someone like me?
Truthfully, we’ve all felt these things before about other people. We are fragile and broken. Sometimes we use before we even think to help. I know I do all the time.
However, when we reach out to love and to affirm others God will use that to heal wounds deep within us and lift us from despair to hope.
This year has been a hard one for me. In a nutshell, I fight change hard and it feels like there hasn’t been a single thing about my life that hasn’t changed this year. My home, my job, my postpartum body, my husband’s work. Each of these things splinters into an even bigger list of change and I have had to dig deep in this season to believe the why behind it all.
But do you know what hasn’t changed and I heard loud and clear this week?
I am loved and lovable.
And yes, you are loved and lovable too.
Our great hope is that there is perpetual love available to every person in the world.
Honest, affirming human connection goes a long way to help us remember this.
Can I encourage you to pick up your phone and call or text someone an affirmation from your heart? Say it in your own way, but tell them they are loved and lovable.
And Thank You my Robbie for the perfect gift. You know me, the real me who struggles for months before I can write or articulate a single sentence yet alone something ready to be shared with others. You are strong, loved, and oh so lovable.