I know a lot of folks don’t believe in making wishes on their birthday. I still believe in wishes. A wish is something fun, an opportunity to close your eyes, count to ten, and dream of something you can’t beg for, barter for, or buy. But as an adult, I find myself saying prayers rather than making wishes.
This year, on the day of the start of my 53rd year, I have several wishes, prayers, and requests. I know, I know, “requests” doesn’t quite fit in that sentence well and it doesn’t quite fit with “wishes” and “prayers,” but I’ll fully explain myself in a minute.
I spend my days doing what I love – photography. Most days I get paid for doing what I love – capturing memories. On most days I feel good – well, I feel great – about the work I do. Having that sense of pride is important, I believe, to everyone. You have to have pride in anything you do no matter what your profession. But more importantly, every day that I bring a smile to someone’s face through my photography makes it an even better day.
My wish this year – and one that I so desperately want to come true – is not about stuff, but about personal fulfillment and a sense of security. When we were younger, we looked forward to the gifts from our family, the things “we’ve wished for” all year long, but as we get older, it’s not so much about the stuff.
Oh, of course, this year it would be utterly awesome if I got a new pair of Lucchese Classics or a pair of DuBarry Galway boots, but those are truly wishes. They don’t fall under things I would “pray for” as I’m not sure God would take me too seriously since I do have shoes on my feet and a few pairs of well-worn Luccheses in the closet. However, on His rolodex of frequent prayer folks, there is probably a thumbnail of me in my beloved boots. Just sayin’ . . .
This year is different for me – well, maybe not just this year. I think I’ve had a different perspective for more than a couple of years. I’m blessed to have two children I am so proud of for growing up and becoming incredible adults. My oldest is getting married in ten days and in putting together her wedding video with the help of a new friend, I had the chance to reflect back on all the years of her life and smile at how incredibly proud I am of her. Like any other mom, I’ve had those moments with both of my children where it’s been hard when we’ve had personality clashes, disagreements over behavior, or just the usual disciplinary issues. But, you know, it’s all about growing up – not just their growing up but mine, too. There were times when I was told to “pick my battles” and I chose not to listen. There were times I spoke out when I should have zipped it and stood silent. Much like my daughter’s upcoming wedding has sparked my “look-back” of the photographic memories, my son’s deployment as a U.S. Marine to Afghanistan last year had me soul-searching and asking God hundreds of times a day to keep him safe and bring him home to us. I prayed over and over again that he have the opportunity to live a full and happy life and to bring him home safely. God answered my prayers and he, indeed, came home to us. But every single day of his deployment, I wished it wasn’t me having to live through those long months of uncertainty, those days of not knowing what he was doing, how he was feeling, if he was thinking of us back home. There were times I wished I could have switched places with him because it didn’t seem fair my son was in such a dismal place at such a young age, a place so unfamiliar to his way of life growing up here in the United States. I never thought to consider the fact that he chose to serve our country as a U.S. Marine and he knew what he was getting into when he joined the Marines. Once I came to realize that fact, my heart swelled with pride and I prayed hard and long that God would bless him and envelope him in safety. My wishes were then replaced by more prayers.
So as I stated above, this year I’m wishing and praying for something that is more selfish and self-centered and I’m requesting that you all take a moment to step back and reflect on the fact that this probably fits your lives, as well.
I wish I could fully understand patience is the key to peace. In my occupation, I can have all the patience in the world behind the lens. But, in daily living, my patience is short. I then pray that God hears me and grants me patience and understanding and the ability to sort through the uncertainties and hardships in my life and find answers.
I wish for a strong shoulder to lean on which casts no blame but, instead, lends knowledge and understanding. I then pray that God hears my prayers and sheds light on a path to lead me to the answers I seek.
And in closing, I’ll share a wish for all of you out there and I’ll borrow the lines from a Rascal Flatts song, “My Wish”:
My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold
And while you’re out there gettin’ where you’re gettin’ to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things, too.
Yeah, this is my wish . . . my birthday wish.