happy-birthday-cindy-cradler.jpgOne of my favorite country songs is the aptly named title, “Very Last Country Song” by the duo Sugarland.

The opening lyrics are “today’s my birthday.”

The song takes the audience down a journey of a woman spending her special day reviewing photos of her mom, babies and romantic relationships. There is a familiar yet still moving line in the refrain. It reads: “If we knew what we had before it was gone.”

Last night, in anticipation of my birthday, I watched one of my favorite holiday movies, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” A more touching scene is when the main character, Clark Griswold, find old tapes of his past Christmas with memories of his parents. He is moved to tears, providing context to why he tries so hard to make this Christmas. He is simply attempting to recreate his past memories that brought him so much joy.

I am a romantic, and as a result, I can look back and look at the present, and become overwhelmed by the beauty. When I can be truly present, I can dwell in what is nothing other than God’s love.

Thankfully, I forget the frustrations and the struggle. In the midst of the memory, I recognize the beauty and the best of people. What a gift that is! Perhaps space and time has a secret way in allowing our perception to cherish, and understand the divine souls in the characters who appear in our lives. From a distance, dwelling in God’s love in the other seems a little more possible. Our potentially unrealistic expectations are no longer in the way, and by looking back we can see the good. We can see God.

As I complete another year around the sun, I dwell today in the blessings that make up my life. I cannot remember feeling so overwhelmed by love and gratitude as I do on this birthday.

In a year when I have searched for answers, took some hits, and made some mistakes, I am reminded these days of how I am exactly where I need to be, where God needs me to be, at this point in time.

Yes, I have spent the past few days and nights reviewing photographs and videos in my head of days past. All that I see are blessings. And they are more than one person truly deserves.