So today we're going to celebrate what is: being together, loving our kids and their loved ones, enjoying a feast and good music (we're off to a French wine bar and then a Rosanne Cash concert) and making the most of the hand we've been dealt. We have both been blessed with reasonably good health, great opportunities and the chance to be together.
One of my dearest friends in Tucson recently wrote to me saying that he really misses Dianne and her "chill" ways in the old band. Not only could she put up with me - not always the easiest thing to do in those days (and maybe still) - but she could bring out the best in the other singers, help keep our drummer in the groove and articulate what my guitar playing buddy was thinking but couldn't quiet express. Dianne IS chill - and grace - and a whole lot of quiet fun, too.
My birthday is Friday: I had a really ugly time with the truths of aging throughout my 40s but thanks be to God my 50s have been a whole lot more grounded. We'll be feasting and digging some tunes then, too. Tonight it is the great Rosanne Cash and her slightly outlaw country take on life; then it will be on to a local jazz quartet and their sweet/hot sounds in the spirit of Berkshire jazz. And after worship on Sunday, we're off to Tanglewood to experience the sweet soul music of James Taylor and Carole King during their 40th Anniversary Tour.
There is something to be said for the words of the old preacher in Ecclesiastes: "There is often nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink and find enjoyment in their toil for this is all from God. And apart from the Lord who can eat or have any enjoyment? To be sure, to everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven." The Psalmist got it right from my perspective, too: "Do not fret...trust in the Lord and do good...be still before the Lord and wait patiently... refrain from anger and do not fret... wait upon the Lord." How did the Wailin Jennys put it? "Worrying is like praying for things you don't want to happen!"
And so we celebrate tonight - and this week - for the simple blessings neither of us want to take for granted. An old birthday prayer puts it like this:
O Lord our God, our times are in your hand: look with favor, I pray, on your servants as we begin another year. Grant that we may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen our trust in your goodness all the days of our lives; for we seek to be yours through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Happy birthday dear lover and friend...