Thoughts on birthdays, funerals, wheelchair parking, and homelessness.
Well I had a birthday this week. Those who know me know that I am a massive fan of birthdays, including my own. It’s that one day a year that’s all about you, so I figure make it a good one. I am 48 years old. Yikes! That number kind of freaks me out to be honest. I’m not quite sure why, but it does.
I did have a really good, yet up and down day, which was as eventful a birthday as I can remember.
First it started out with my girls making me Bacon n eggs for breakfast. Nothing beats that combo, especially when it’s made with love. Then they gave me a few birthday things including this homemade card which is amongst the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen. I’ll post a picture of it here but it is a picture of me with some guys who I have spoken quite incredibly highly of (and maybe not so secretly wanted to be in a dad kind of way) over the years.
Then I went to work where I heard more news about Iris, my friend and office neighbor of the past four years who has died from cancer.
So sad. She was a beautiful person. A beautiful soul. Her funeral is this weekend.
Then I scooted over to a church near the Eaton center, Church of the Holy Trinity, where I conducted a funeral for a lady from Causeway who passed away. Doing a funeral on my birthday was powerful in that everything about that service reminded me of the circle of life. We all have a birthday and a death date. It’s important to mark both of those days I think. It’s not terribly unusual for me to be at a funeral on my actual birthday. Kinda weird I know.
Before the funeral started, I took the time to sit and gaze at the spectacular Christmas tree inside the mall. I’m a sucker for Christmas lights and this thing is huge and brilliant. Then, still just before the funeral, I also went through the labyrinth which is just outside the church. It was a quick but meaningful time of reflection for me. (Part of the wonder of all of this is that it happened on a 17° sunny unseasonably warm day in late November.)
Then I went home and my girls had made me shepherds pie for dinner. Awesome!
Finally, to top it all off, some dear couple friends came over for a few hours that night where we had desserts and birthday cake. I was happy and content.
But the thing that will stick out most to me in terms of something I learned that day was when I went to work that morning. When I got there someone was parked in the disabled spot but did not have a disabled sticker.
That drives me crazy! Sadly it happens so often.
As I parked in the non-parking spot beside it, the person who owned the car came out and I gave her an ear full. I reminded her that it does not say ‘temporary parking spot’. The spot was for disabled people. And also the parking lot had a lot of open spaces.
Before that encounter happened, I had called out to a guy, who is homeless and lives in his van, for a hand getting my walker out of my vehicle. I’ve gotten to know and like him over the past few months.
He patiently waited for my rant about my parking woes to end, and even along the way nodded and understood that this kind of thing adds insult to injury.
But When he felt it was wise to stop me from venting and getting more heated and losing focus, He then looked me in the eye and with a smile on his face simply said these words;
It stopped me in my tracks. It diffused my anger. It caused me to breathe. It reminded me of the need for grace. Once again, someone who is homeless that most of society would think has nothing to offer, taught me a valuable lesson; a lesson about grace. I will not soon forget it.
I needed that reminder. And I suspect I will need it again and again.
I will need it 70×7 times I fear.
I truly loved my day and I’m thankful, despite the constant struggle, for my life.