yesterday some dear friends celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. i suppose "celebrated" is the wrong word, because they spent much of the day cleaning out their garage and the rest of it moving furniture. it was also the husband's 74th birthday. my wife and i helped them with the furniture, and they in turn helped us swap the positions of a couple of large pieces of furniture in our house. they exchanged gifts with one another and received cards from several family members, as well as getting a congratulatory call from a relative. my wife and i were amazed, and a little troubled, that such significant milestones in their lives were observed with so little fanfare, but this was their wish, apparently. the husband did comment once that this was some way to recognize their anniversary and his birthday, but the wife had the attitude that "it is what it is."
as i reflect on the non-event that was their anniversary/birthday, perhaps this is the way it should be: a perfunctory recognition of events many years ago and then carrying on with life as it comes to us. we are cooking dinner for them and two of their family members, and that's the most party they'll get. it is part of our nature to create special days commemorating significant events in our own lives and those of others--birthdays, anniversaries, national and religious holidays--and i suppose we should call to mind these events and honor their significance. we crave such celebrations and invent occasions like mother's and father's days, chocolate day, hot dog day, secretary's day, bosses' day, and the like to satisfy our desire for things to celebrate.
maybe just celebrating life each day ought to be enough. every day is a day to be honored and recognized. the continuing ability to awaken, to take the next breath, to see, hear, touch, smell, taste, the joy of just being alive is a cause for celebration, one that we often fail to observe. so today is the first "joyful living day" that i'll try to remember each day that i continue in this life. after all, at a few months past seventy, there are fewer days left to embrace the joy of life, and i need to celebrate every one i'm allowed.
may each of us rejoice in life, in the mundane and the extraordinary, in the sickness and the health, in the noisy and the quiet, in every facet of life. may we be grateful for life's trials that make us stronger and help us to deal with adversity, just as we are grateful for those moments that are free of challenge. may we see that every day is a gift, that each day we awaken we are fortunate to be alive. may we be filled with joy. shalom.