Birthday wish

One of my colleagues J asked me why I don’t write posts the way I used to on my blog — with anecdotes from my personal life, with all its trials and joys. I told her I don’t have the urge to do that anymore but for old times’ sake, I decided to write one today.

I turned 41 yesterday. It was my day off from work, and I spent the first half of it wrapping up pending woodwork at my present apartment. (We’re going to move in a few days and I didn’t want to leave behind loose hinges and broken door locks.) It was pretty intense — there were four workmen around the house, my husband was fast asleep on the sofa, the kids were busy messing up the kitchen, the phone kept ringing as my loved ones called to wish me, the computer made pouty faces urging me to sit and do some work, and the doorbell was at its incessant best as delivery boys or the landlord dropped in. My office sent me a cake and flowers. I got several birthday wishes on Facebook.

By afternoon, there was a lull as the activity died down. The family kept asking what I wanted to do with the rest of the day. I couldn’t think of a single thing. So we just hung around and ordered Subway (but I still ate leftovers because no one else wanted them) and we watched some TV and I talked a whole lot on the phone — one call after another, and another, and another. Then another colleague sent a Whatsapp joke: “What did the Buddhist say to the man behind the Subway counter? Make me one with everything.” I loved it. I think it was the most wonderful birthday present EVER.

Before I slept at night, I decided to make my day REALLY special, so I turned off the lights and as the husband snored away (yes, he seems to sleep a lot on the weekends), I talked to God. And my day flashed before my eyes as my whole body beamed up waves of gratitude.

I thanked God for the carpentry work — I was able to tie out the loose ends before ending one phase of life. I prayed to die with such utter completion, like my aunt, whose house burned down and she learnt to give up material attachments a few months before her death. She passed away painlessly, laughing, playing a game of cards with her daughter and full-time help. We die as we live.

I thanked God for my family and for their presence on my big day, for the sense of love, meaning and belonging. I thanked God for all the other abundances in my life, the homes, the jobs, the relationships, the friendships, the phone calls, the cake and flowers, the opportunities, the blessings, the magic, the furniture, the clothes, the angels, the sheer miracle of being alive.

Intensely moved, I cried my heart out with pure gratitude for nearly an hour, thanking the universe for the supreme privilege of having me, for every single step of the journey that has brought me here, for all the little and big lessons I needed to learn before I could appreciate my gifts. I begged forgiveness for grudging my sorrows and begrudging my challenges. All of my existence made perfect sense — from the moment of my conception to the moment I sat down to pray my birthday prayer. It was God’s plan for my life and it was just…. perfect.

Tears running down my face, I began repeating over and over again, “Make me one with everything. Make me one with everything. Make me one with everything.”

It was an intimate moment that I wouldn’t have shared had not J brought it up. But now I guess she knows why I no longer share so much of my life out in public. There’s so much happening within.

Often, dear J, at the end of each day, I feel one with everything. And then there is no need for words. Except maybe one.



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