Today is my 45th birthday.
Typically I am not one that lets a birthday phase me. I have always felt blessed by my family and my friends, as I have aged I felt like I was doing so with greater grace for others, knowledge of God and an understanding of who He was in my life.
Of course there are the minor annoyances that come with getting older that are not fun for anyone, but for me it was just a part of life. I never really felt like I had hit a “midlife crisis” point.
Today is the second of milestones in this journey of loss. I suppose the biggest initially was getting to that 30 day mark, one month without Isaac here. Today would mark the second.
I was dreading today. I guess mostly because it marks the first of what will likely be many birthdays that I will “celebrate” without my oldest son here. I would love to tell you that Isaac was super great about honoring his mom on her special day but the reality was I was probably lucky to get a phone call or a quick text. He was never terribly “mushy” in that way, but even if Dominic had to remind him…I would hear something.
I have already been showered with love today. I do have so many reasons to be grateful. Dominic went last night and got me some beautiful flowers and a heartfelt card (my love language). My parents stopped by yesterday and brought with them food, picked up some birthday cupcakes and dropped of this amazing sign that my sister sent for me. I have had text messages and voxes and emails…so many words of encouragement.
I am grateful, I am.
But my heart is so very sad.
One of the Bible verses that I looked up today was Psalm 89:15-16
15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,
16 who exult in your name all the day
and in your righteousness are exalted.
I was curious about what a festal shout was so I did a little more digging.
The Hebrew definition is teruah: a shout or blast of war, alarm, or joy
Apparently this same word is found in the story of Jerico in the book of Joshua.
God tells Joshua that he is going to give Jerico into Joshua’s hand. There is this huge wall around the city and God gives Joshua instructions to have his army march around the city, along with priests and the ark of the covenant, once a day for six days. And they are not to make a sound, just march. On the seventh day they are to march around the city seven times with the priests blowing their trumpets and then the people were to shout with a great shout (teruah) and the wall would fall down.
I have talked about this story before. I love it. Mostly because I can about imagine what it must have looked like and maybe felt like being there. Here are the people inside the wall seeing this army marching around the wall once a day, not making a sound for six days. Don’t you wonder what the people inside of Jerico must have thought? “What a bunch of crazy people!” “What in the world are they doing?!”
And the men in the army, the priests….I don’t know about you but at about day 3, I would be wondering “What in the world is this Joshua character having us do?” “Why are we marching around this wall silently, doing nothing?” “What is the point of all of this?”
So I don’t know if these people were full of faith or full of anger or maybe even a little embarrassment at the past six days of silent marching…but on that seventh day when Joshua told them “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city.” The Bible says that the people “shouted with a great shout (terauh) and the wall fell down flat. (v20)
God did what He said He would do.
Blessed are the people who know this deep cry out to the Lord. Who whether full of faith or anger or embarrassment (or sadness) or a bit of each, shout out to the Lord and the walls around them fall.
I hate that my life will now be marked by “milestones”, moments that in many ways, at least for these first few years I might just survive through. But I count myself blessed. Because I enter into this second half of my life knowing the festal shout in a way that many do not.
God met me in the midst of my deepest sorrow-cries and continues to meet me in each moment after. God has done what He said He would do. He has not left me, He has not forsaken me and He continues to carry me until the next milestone.