Today is my Birthday

Tuesday, April 13

Today’s my birthday. What happened this past year hasn’t gelled in my head yet, but it’s the year my life changed.

The last couple of years I sought community. I live alone, I’m single with no kids and my contentment being alone out-weighed the people part of my life. I wanted a few more people.

When I screamed for help last year, my neighbors came; they saved my life.

Afterwards, along with the adrenaline, vicadin and spiritual awe coursing through my veins, a new realization bloomed: I had community.

The man who saw my attacker leave me, risked his life to help me and others by chasing and fighting him into submission. He did this fearlessly, with his wife’s support and faith which I think protected him.

From that night on, family, friends and casual acquaintances gave me their time, thoughts and prayers. They brought groceries and flowers. They sat and spoke or listened, they were there with me. They wrote and called. I had to receive without giving back, a strange and uncomfortable position for me. All I could do was thank them and see the light they radiated.

My family worried and thought I’d be more comfortable somewhere else, but I was completely at peace in my home, among the amazing neighbors in my community. Daily, this community nurtured me in ways I’ll never forget.

On the first day after, my friend and neighbor came and made a list of what I needed; she went out and came back with a bag of food and toiletries. When I tried to insist she take a check, her eyes welled up with emotion; she said she wanted to do this and asked me to let her do it.

I didn’t do anything to deserve the gifts I received. I was simply in need of them. They gave me much more than I would have asked for, but I never had to ask anyway. It’s still wondrous to me.

It was a beautiful scary thing, this cascade of humans and human kindness in my life. It changed me. I learned how to take care of a person in trouble from my newly discovered community.  

To give with no expectation of receiving anything back, that’s asking for the best from humanity. That’s one of the things Burning Man asks. I read something a Burner posted on Facebook about Burning Man setting the tone for his coming year.

I want to adopt that.

A desert full of creative, dusty, possibly naked people; and  art, music, all the unknowns and peace and love?  Sure, I’m there. It looks to be a good place to recommit to a creative life and loving kindness. And to hopefully thrive and carry it back. Or maybe to just do what seems difficult. I’ll know when I’m back.

I’m grateful to say that the same old same old just won’t do anymore. Happy Birthday to me.


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