Today (technically yesterday), I commemorated for the upteenth time the day I was born into this world. And all day long, as friends left me messages on Facebook or texted me or emailed or called to sing to me (thanks, Brett!), I was filled to the brim with gratitude as I thought of friendships old and new and how in each chapter of my life thus far, I have always had the people I needed to love and support me and to speak truth to me.
Looking back on the past year, quite frankly, it's been really, really hard. I've had to face choices and changes that are some of the most painful I've had to deal with (and I've been through some tough shit in my life). And yet, there is this inexplicable joy and peace in my heart and an overwhelming sense of gratitude as I write this.
I am reminded of the Kahlil Gibran quote my brother D texted me one particularly difficult night: "Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain." I've thought of that quote often since then, and I feel like this pain of the "breaking of the shell" is something I will experience again and again, as the layers around my heart are peeled away. And so for now, I walk between joy and sorrow, often with one foot in each side, celebrating the contradictions and complexities of being human, seeking hope and humility in my unfinishedness, feeling deep gratitude for the gift of loving and being loved.