A Mystical Birth Day Gift

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In the early morning hours of my recent birth day, I woke embraced in total darkness and thought of my mother exactly 74 years earlier. I knew her labor was prolonged and so I knew now, at 3am, she and I still had seven hours and 21 minutes ahead in the birthing task before us. As in that time nearly three-quarters of a century ago, I was surrounded by this same darkness within her body. In addition, I would have been moist, too, enclosed in a water environment much like all my swims later in life in the ocean, the bay, and the sound off the shores of Long Island.

An unexpected fact rose into my thoughts: I’d always been a fearful swimmer and in that moment of astonishing, fragile connection between two worlds seventy-four years apart, I questioned: was I fearful then? Of course, an instant response said silently, you must have felt terrified by being slowly pushed and squeezed forward into an unknown world ahead.

My thoughts returned to the wonder of the moment, an experience unlike any I’d ever experienced. Gratitude to my mom for giving me life rose within and gently filled all the spaces of my heart. I thought of all her labor: my birth, and all the tasks that followed in raising her first child. I was not an easy child to raise and our relationship wasn’t always smooth although, eventually, we did work through many of our conflicts toward the end of her 89 years. Yet, when she died, although I’d worked before and in years after to remove it, sadly one relentlessly immovable brick remained in the inner wall I had carried through the years.

Nevertheless, in the still-dark and mystical early morning of my birth day, I knew that my 74th birthday had opened with a profound gift of grace. At the end of the day I realized unequivocally that grace had unsparingly filled each moment of the day.

The next day, as I wrote about those mysterious moments, I found the gratitude that filled and softened my heart the day before remained. Then I thought I’d search for that stubborn, persistent brick that had weighed me down for decades–and discovered with joy that I could not find it; it had disappeared–for good, I believed.

I was intensely humbled by this gracious gift. My favorite word, shalom, slid into my thoughts, filling them with the rich, diverse affirmations the word gives: peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, and tranquility. And to you, my dear reader, I say, “Shalom.”

This piece was originally published at Story Circle Network’s One Woman’s Day blog.

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About Mary Jo Doig

Mary Jo Doig was the first in her family to attend college and graduated from the State University at Oneonta in New York’s Catskill Mountains with a degree in Secondary English Education/Educational Psychology. There she fell in love with rural life, remained, and eventually transitioned from city girl to country woman when she married a dairy farmer and raised their three children on their small family farm. A life-long lover of reading and writing, Mary Jo has for nearly twenty years been a member of the Story Circle Network. There she has been an editor, a women’s writing circle facilitator, a book reviewer, and life-writing enthusiast, working extensively with women writing their life-stories while writing her own memoir. Presently, she is a three-time Program Chair for SCNs national Stories from the Heart conference and a board member. She also facilitates Older Women’s Legacy workshops and a women’s life-writing circle in her area communities. Her stories have appeared in Kitchen Table Stories anthology, Story Circle Annual Anthologies, and most recently her story “I Can’t Breathe” was published in the Anthology, Inside and Out: Women’s Truths, Women’s Stories. Her work also appears in varied blogs and periodicals, on her blog Musings from a Patchwork Quilt Life (https://maryjod.wordpress.com), Facebook, and Twitter. Her son and two daughters grown, Mary Jo presently treasures her country life in Virginia’s Central Shenandoah Valley. She loves cooking (and eating!) healthy food, reading, writing, quilting, hiking, and spending quality time with her rescue cats, Button and Xena, and beagle, Addie, who each dream of being only children. Her first book, Patchwork: A Memoir of Love and Loss, will be published in October, 2018 by She Writes Press.
This entry was posted in Childhood, Family, Gifts, Gratitude, Mystery, Peacefulness. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Mystical Birth Day Gift

  1. Mystical indeed – very moving story for those of us lucky enough to be reading this.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elaine Ercolano says:

    Shalom to you Mary Jo and thank you for your beautiful writings which so enrich my life.

    Like

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