Just as the clock struck midnight last night, in the midst of a record-breaking, historic snowstorm that threatened and eventually did cancel my plans to celebrate my birthday with my church family, I had to pause and give thanks. I need to say again that I was feeling a little disappointed that I was not going to be having my first day at 40 exactly as I wanted it. But even so, I had to admit that I had a blast at 39.
Last year, I turned 39 with a whimper. I spent the first week of my 40th year lamenting all that I had not yet accomplished. I remembered so well when I turned 30 and rejoiced that my adulthood was really secure. I couldn't believe how quickly the decade had passed. Yes, there were accomplishments, including the completion of my Ph.D. and the securing of gainful employment, but none of the milestones of my 30s up to that time included the things I had most hoped for, a husband and children. When I turned 39, I didn't even have a church. I was feeling a little blessed but a little cursed too.
I don't have the time or the energy for all of the details, but let me say this: Even though I still don't have a husband or a child, 39 was the year when I could no longer sustain the fiction that I am cursed. It no longer is logically sustainable. I have felt more loved, supported, and chosen in this past year than ever before in my life. The process that brought me to St. Paul's, including the respect that the search committee accorded me, blessed me more than I can say. The commitment and investment of friends who rejoiced on my first Sunday and at my installation as if it were their own new life, so many events this year have pointed to the love of God and the love of many friends. I have been celebrated and feted. I have been taken care of and comforted. Friends, old and new, have shown me how loved I am. Family have shown up and beamed with pride.
Women over 40 tell me that I am going to love this new season I am in. I hope so. I also hope to have a family of my own. But if none of that is true, if that doesn't happen, then I have had at least one marvelous year. Thank God for 39.