"What do you want for your birthday?" I paused to let The Question sink in. Another year, another birthday. I internally asked myself the same question my friend had just posed. That's when I realized it happened. I had reached the age at which material things no longer carry the same hope of satisfaction and gratification that they used to. Perhaps this is because I have accepted the truth that they won't, in fact, sustain my soul. Neither will they retain the same excitement factor they once held when they were shiny and new. But if I didn't want a present what was it then that I really wanted? If there's one thing I've longed for the most during this transition season it's community. I definitely experienced a period of restlessness and discomfort while struggling to grow into life after graduating, and a huge part of this was exacerbated by the fact that in the aftermath of change my friends and I were pretty scattered while we figured out how to piece the puzzle back together. Now that the dust has settled I can confidently and gratefully say that God has blessed me abundantly with the restoration of old communities and the birth of new ones.
So, in response to The Question, I decided that all I really wanted for my birthday was to set aside a day with close friends going to church and doing all of my favorite things in the great city of Los Angeles. Instead of presents from my friends I wanted the presence of my friends.
What resulted was the best gift I could have ever received. A day spent with wonderful people eating our way through LA. Moreover, it was a day drenched in Love. I am so indescribably thankful for each and every moment I have with these people and I am in awe of the work God is orchestrating in our lives both separately and together. As I looked around the table at dinner and the night drew to a close I was overcome by the awareness that we are all threads in the tapestry of life and together we are being woven into a great and perfect design.
KatieKat and me at the good old Mercantile. A staple and forever favorite.
The Hollywood Christmas Parade happened to be that evening, so we camped out on Hollywood Boulevard and patiently awaited Santa Clause. We never actually saw him, but in the meantime several Batmobiles, the Ectomobile (Ghostbusters, anyone?), the Scooby Doo van, a Tatooine land speeder complete with Jawas, and many other iconic film vehicles cruised by. ...and of course the occasional supersized Elmo or Kermit the Frog.
(Thanks Kimmie for taking the camera to capture some of the above images! Check out all the interesting and lovely things going on over at her bloggity)
It was pretty fitting that my actual birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. I was able to stop and truly appreciate God's provision, faithfulness, and undeserved, unbelievably abundant grace in my life.
Thank you to everyone who made my birthday special whether or not you were in LA with us! You are loved!