Saturday was my birthday. I was born on January 9th, 1958, so when I write my date of birth in “short numerical notation” it’s 1/9/58. In the 1900s, you would have been born on January 9th for both your year and date of birth to be the same. (in the 1800s you would have been born on January 8th, and in the 2100s you’d have to be born on February 1st for this phenomena to take place) On top of that, this year is significant, not only because my date of birth is the same as my year of birth, but also because I turned 58. For quite awhile, I’ve held this date up as symbolic and meaningful because of the numerology behind it….1958…1/9/58…turning 58.
As I wrote last week in “Not Fair!”, I’ve been in a challenging place, that has caused a lot of personal heartache. Larry and I had to be out-of-town on both Friday and Saturday. It was a journey that we had to take, and I knew that by the end of Saturday we would have completed that walk. This was the very same Saturday that (for years) I had been anticipating being really wonderful and profound. Ironic, timing right? Sometimes I just don’t understand the weirdness of life.
For some reason, diamonds kept coming into my mind–their scarcity, their value, their brilliance. When you mine for diamonds, you don’t just walk out your door and find some big, flashy stones waiting for you. You have to seek them out. You have to MINE them!
Diamonds are mined in over twenty countries through either underground/marine, open-pit or alluvial mining. In the more sophisticated methods, geologists first have to find “kimberlite pipe deposits”. Once they’re sure that profitable diamonds are present, huge shanks are drilled into the ground, a lot of soil is removed and the raw rock is extracted. After that, up to three hundred tons of ore might be put through a sieve just to end up with one carat of jewelry quality diamonds. Wow! When mining is done in a somewhat less technology driven way (at a beach or riverbank for example), it’s call alluvial mining. In this case diamonds have been carried by water and wind down rivers, over millions of years. There are either walls built that divert the waters, or diggers actually screen and strain mud looking for gems. The image of someone slowly and painstakingly working through the mud, looking for the treasure, is what I was thinking about when diamonds kept coming to mind.
Diamonds are formed hundreds of miles underground where pressure-crystallized carbon and heat dance together to create them
(a lot of our formation as people seems to occur when we’re under pressure).
Once they’re formed they reach an area high enough to be harvested through a volcanic eruption–scientists suggest that the last kimberlite eruption probably happened over 100 million years ago
(there have been times when I’ve erupted just like a volcano).
Diamonds are the hardest substance scientists know of on earth
(although they can be broken, just like people).
So back to “no fair” and diamonds. In their brilliance, diamonds often take center stage. You could be wearing a pretty mediocre outfit but one beautiful diamond takes it to an entirely different level. The diamond created the change.
The space I was existing in, for the past month, caused a lot of pain–emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was having conversations with God that kept asking, “why?”. I attempted to “reason it out”, but came up with nothing. Then, in the midst of the disease (dis-ease) of my life, I decided (or was led to decide) that not only would I look for diamonds in the darkness, but I would actively mine for them. I became purposeful about sharing my pain, being vulnerable, asking for advice, listening to support and reaching out for prayer from those I know and love best. Then, the more I mined, the more diamonds I found.
In the past month, and most specifically in the past week, I have seen the hand of God in my life. I have been given the gift of amazing diamonds.
I’ve turned the corner. I’ve come out on the other side–a bit battle weary, a little scarred, sometimes still angry at the “injustice” of it all, but mostly in awe of the amazing gifts I have in the human beings who are “My Beloved”. These people are not “diamonds in the rough”. They are brilliant and perfect in their imperfection. They are breakable, just like me, but overflowing with grace. They have reached out, with everything they have to offer, and they have changed one woman’s life with love that’s pure, unadulterated, honest and genuine.
I witnessed the unwavering love of both of my daughters. Erin, whose birthday was on January 7th, and whose celebration plans were changed because my world was spinning out of control (both literally and figuratively), came to my home and made lunch for me on HER birthday. Then, she came to our house and made breakfast for us on Saturday, before we left town for the second day. Sara, in the midst of working and parenting and being a soccer Mom, decorated the house on Friday evening with streamers and balloons and a banner that shouted “Happy Birthday” when we walked in the door.
I witnessed the love of my sister-in-laws, both of whom I had phone conversations and multiple text exchanges with, offering me love and support.
Soup was dropped off (to help with the drama my stomach was playing out) and flowers were given (to remind me that Saturday WAS a special day).
On Saturday, before we left, I opened a small, beautifully wrapped package, priority mailed to me.
I witnessed the love of my friends over and over. In a period of less than 48 hours I shared time with four of my dearest friends over food and drinks because THEY invited me, because they cared. All three of these times there were long conversations, unwavering support and love.
I received birthday cards that inspired me, brought me to tears, and lifted me up in ways I’m not yet sure how to express. They say things like:
“You are loved by so many. Never forget how unique you are.”
“I have loved sharing this journey of life with you!”
“I am so blessed to have EXTRAordinary YOU in my life!”
“Thank you for who you are and light you share in this world.”
“I love you.”
“I am so thankful that God brought us together.”
Wow, again. Who gets to be blessed by words overflowing with such kindness and love?
I’ve received more messages of love and support than I can count. One of the many that touched my heart said:
“To one of the most sensitive, intuitive, loving presences I know.”
Wow, once more.
Then another diamond–a sign:
Larry and I were making the long trek home on Friday night. We thought we would have been able to leave a lot earlier than we did, so it was really late. Uncharacteristically, I stayed awake for the entire three-hour drive. At midnight, Larry said “Happy Birthday” and a minute later I said, jokingly “I can’t believe my phone’s not ringing off the hook, after all it’s January 9th!”. One minute later (12:02am on 1/9/16) as we rounded a corner on a dark, two-lane road I said, “watch out”. Standing there, in the middle of the road, right in front of us, staring at us was an owl. (Owls are the way I know that my Mom is “with me” from the spirit side.) Amazed, we looked then drove slowly away, in awe. This diamond shone so brightly that there was no way to mistake its message: “this IS an important day, you are always loved, you are always safe, you are always a child of God”.
None of these diamonds are about me being any more special than anyone else (because we’re ALL special).
These diamonds are about being blessed by the amazing spirits who share their lives with me.
These diamonds are about:
Laughter in the sadness,
Hope in the bleakness,
Joy in the sorrow.
These diamonds are about Love.
January 9th, 2016–58 years from January 9th, 1958–was a day of dark and light. The dark will fade away, because that’s what it’s supposed to do. The light will continue to grow and grow, and light more torches, because that’s what IT’S supposed to do. In my humanness I will remember some of the pain, but I will remember more, and always, the triumph of love. Thank you God.
With gratitude and love for all the diamonds in our world,
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #43. Do things because you think they’re right, not because you think you have to; too often we get stuck in an “I did it because I had to” mentality. Doing what you consider “right” is much more important.