Yesterday was my 70th Birthday. For months, while in Panama, I’d been planning a birthday bash weekend — celebrating both the years and my U.S. return, with friends and community from near and far. Covid, of course, cancelled all that.
It’s been a bumpy road back. First, we were ripped from service prematurely as the virus closed down Peace Corps worldwide. Evacuation was followed by grief, in all its classic stages. All of this while in social lockdown, unable to move on with whatever the “next stage.”
For me, that resulted in a kind of unmotivated inertia. My Peace Corps time often feels like some alternate reality . . . almost as if these hugely significant two-plus years never happened. Since being evacuated, I’ve been well and safe … but without direction or any sense of how or when to get it. I’m grateful for being blessedly situated, safe and well, within this terrible time. But I clearly need to “get on with it” — if only I knew how . . . and what “it” might be.
But I think this birthday may be that proverbial corner for turning. I have a car. My Medicare is reinstated. And I’m in the process of buying a condo. All steps along the way to being resettled, at the same time that Nevada is taking small, initial steps toward re-opening.
I’m about to begin some English tutoring (virtually, of course) for a non-native speaker. I’m Zooming every study opportunity that comes along. I’ve found ways to reconnect with friends (albeit at a distance or virtually and nowhere near as often as I had imagined.) And, from rare time to time, I’m even called upon for a bit of rabbi-ing. I’m thinking also that it’s time to get back to more writing and reflecting. (So brace yourself; more blogs may be coming once again. 😁)
And then my birthday came along. Quite literally, the icing on the cake. A day of anticipated disappointment turned out to be exceedingly lovely. For all its faults, social media is an amazing vehicle for floods of greetings. Between Facebook, WhatsApp, email, IM, and even snail mail (!), I was joyfully overwhelmed. Several friends visited, at safe distance. And the day ended with a delicious dinner-of-my-choice from my shelter-in-place “host family,” Jeff and Jane. And Jane is a gourmet cook!! (The chocolate cake photo that follows shows only the ending of an amazing meal!)
Two cakes (the second — the coconut cake under all that gorgeous meringue! — from the family of the Rabbis Zober) and one Happy Birthday girl.
So… Happy Birthday to me.🎶 I figure that I’m entitled to a second 70th Birthday, when the worst of this has passed, God willing. So maybe next year, the BIG party. For this year, the quieter celebration was blessing aplenty. My birthday wish is that we all be gifted with health and sufficiency. May full healing come soon to our world and us all.
I did a pretty poor job of blowing out all those candles, but I’m hoping these wishes come true nonetheless. Stay safe and well and mostly at home. Oh . . . and wear your mask!!