I’ve been born a thousand times.
The first time, the most obvious, was my physical birth. On the night I was born, my Mom sat at her parents’ kitchen table and played cards until 1:00 AM before heading for the hospital; I was born forty minutes later. I wish I could tell you I am as expedient at all things in life as I was at my entrance.
And so there I was: first child, first grandchild on both sides of the family, only child for the moment. And life proceeded much as you would expect.
But life, as we all know, does not ever stay the same. Everything changes; we change.
After a few years of life, I became a big sister, “the oldest.” Not long after that, I became a Kindergartener, a student, and the child of divorced parents. By the time I graduated from eighth grade, I experienced my first crush, bought my first bra, gained two stepparents and another sibling.
In high school I was born again the first time I smoked a cigarette, fell in (and out of) love, got a job, and drove a car. I was reborn when I finished college and started working. I was reborn again when I met my husband and became a wife, a homeowner, and a mother. And yet again when I changed careers, experienced the loss of loved ones, and so much more…
Each of these events was the start of a new stage of life, a rebirth of sorts. Each time, rather than leaving behind the person I was, I carried a piece of her with me, learning from my experiences, adding, growing, and becoming someone new.
In his “Conclusion” to Walden, Thoreau tells the story of a beautiful bug that emerged from the wood of a kitchen table more than sixty years after having been deposited as an egg in the living tree from which the table was formed. He speaks in terms of birth, new life, and resurrection. The bug emerges when time and conditions are right for its second birth. And so should we…over and over again.
I suspect I am far from finished. There will be many more rebirths and many more lives to live as time marches steadily forward. Thoreau leaves us with words of unmistakable hope and a reminder to be open to possibility: “Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”
I can’t wait to see what the next dawn awakens, what each rebirth and new life holds.
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