Today we wish boy #4 a Happy 7th Birthday! he is being very persnickety about it. He keeps arguing with the 4 yo brother that he isn't 7 until the time of his birth this afternoon which was causing the 4 yo to repeat that *E* is 7 in louder and progressively more whiny tones as we drove to school with 2 dozen cupcakes lovingly made by the Husband last night...after being out of the house for almost 12 hours between work and commute.
(Why, yes, I did marry a saint. ;) he also made *E*'s cake for today. He's just that kind of guy.)
7 years ago we welcomed our fourth son. There was much rejoicing...and much joking about the fact that this was the third son to be born in September. *E* loves a good joke but he is also a tender-hearted soul who worries quite a bit. (Actually, all of my kids have a propensity to worry. I think it's genetic...from me.)
When I reflect on the day of *E*'s birth, I remember how many people came together to help us out, neighbors who babysat and did school drop-off and pick-up and tag teamed childcare for us. *E* was our first seminary baby and in our little "compound" there was a sense of community. It wasn't because we all looked the same, listened to the same music or even espoused the same values about everything.
I think it came from the fact that we all espoused the Greatest Commandment...I think it's because we loved God (why we were all there) and we shared that love in word and deed in love of our neighbors, in grace and compassion; lending a hand, sharing a meal, giving a hug or leaving a joke on your door. We were not all perfect, nor did we all embody this love and grace all day every day, but there were enough glimpses of grace in those many hands and hearts that it made most things that seemed or felt impossible quite doable.
I learned a great deal in seminary, but I think the most valuable lessons were learned outside the classroom among the peers who loved and shared and cared and blessed and allowed us to do the same for them.
*E* (And *I*) were born in that environment. Now we have a church home that provides that love too. As we wish *E* a happy 7th Birthday, I remember the feeling of love that surrounded us then and reflect on the love I am surrounded by now.
I pray that my sweet and silly boy feels that love as he grows and that you can feel it too.