Celebrating a life: Part 2 — reflections on 40

Miles walked today: 6.59mi / 10.06km
Total training miles to date: 56.43mi /
Days left til I leave: 43

Yesterday, the day I turned forty years old, was full of laughter, surprises, and insights.

My favorite part of the day was at my party, surrounded by friends who’ve known me for years, telling their favorite stories about me. Some told happy stories about the ways I’ve touched their lives. Others told side-splittingly funny tales of adventures and challenges overcome. A friend commented that it was a great idea to request story-telling; it’s usually what happens after you die. I feel really blessed to know how my cherished people really feel about me and that I’ve made a difference — already.

I received several surprises for my special day. Mary made a three-year wish come true and gave me a banjo to learn how to play. It was so thoughtfully researched and presented, I could hardly breathe through tears from the sweetness of it.

My parents sent me a generous sponsorship (thank you!!) and the sweetest silver scallop shell you’ve every seen. Between the two bivalve shells, they clasp a pearl. It was given to Mom by her parents when she was a teenager and it was part of a charm bracelet she still has. The symbol of the Camino de Santiago is the scallop shell and all pilgrims wear one on their packs. Again, tears. What a meaningful gift.

On my way out of church, I asked our pastor to bless my mom’s gift as I want to wear it while I walk. This is the same guy who thinks that “modern travel and the TSA are penance enough” and teasingly questions my sanity. “When I get to Santiago,” he once told me, “It will be stepping down from an air-conditioned coach bus!”

Still, he obligingly and beautifully blessed the pendant. Making the sign of the cross, he prayed asking that the scallop remind me of my baptism, that I journey well and return safely, that the walk might help me grow in my faith, and that I have no pain. At this point in the prayer, he interjected amusingly that I deserved foot pain for being crazy enough to do this walk. It was just right. I hope to bring his sense of humor along with me to Spain. I might need it.

It was a terrific day. I felt loved and blessed and immensely grateful for my life. When I learned about C’s death, it made me feel even more blessed. More eager to stretch and be everything I can become.

So, I’m 40. So far, so good.

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