Roseann, Age 70
Just wanted to share a story I wrote in the eve of my 70th Birthday…I hope you enjoy it and that it provides smiles to your day…
It is the eve of my 70th Birthday…I wonder what I was doing, thinking, feeling 70 years ago, when I knew I was about to enter the lives of Sarah and Willie…as their first born child. I wonder if I was gazing down from our some star and viewing the brownstone houses on Henry Street in Brooklyn, a tidy Italian-American neighborhood, the third floor apartment, with a little bedroom tucked in the corner of the railroad apartment that would be my home for 10 wonderful years. I wonder what I was doing, thinking, feeling- knowing that my Life was about to start, but perhaps not fully knowing at all where it would take me.
My dad told me I was born late at night, maybe around 11 pm. He said he was at the hospital, Long Island College Hospital, just a few blocks from our home on 487 Henry Street. He told me that when he came home, he yelled in the corridor, “It’s a girl!“ and woke up my grandparents. If I remember his story correctly, I think he said something like my grandmother came out in the hallway and said, “That’s nice,” and went back to bed! I was the second grandchild of a future large grouping of future grandchildren- each of us waiting in line, I guess, for our time to be born and share the Journey together.
I was always shy and I believe, a little fearful in those early years. When I was 7, I found out from newly innovated eye exams at Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Elementary School, that I had really bad vision, with really bad astigmatism and I really needed glasses, badly! I remember the first time I put them on- a whole new world opened up to me. Before that, everything was foggy. People’s faces were foggy, I couldn’t see too far down our block- but I thought that was how things were! Once I could see better on the outside, I think I also felt more real on the inside- maybe because the world was now more connected to me, maybe because the fog had lifted. But wearing glasses at that age and time had a price tag to pay- I was called “four eyes,” made fun of and so began the beginning of self-consciousness…of not feeling pretty or good enough…and we all know how those paradigms go and where they lead to.
Throughout the many years that followed, my glasses would be always on again, off again; in my pocket, on my face, back to my pocket. In school, wear them. Outside of school, go back to the fog of self-consciousness, and a sense of inferiority. This went on until I was about 20 years old.
I went to Puerto Rico with my then boyfriend, then husband and then ex-husband and now friend, Peter. Totally chaperoned by every relative there. One day, we went into town, and as usual I had my glasses in my pocket. We were on the steps of a church and I remember seeing so much color around me- I said to myself, “I have to take a peek to see what this really looks like.” So I sneaked my glasses on when no one would see me and I saw this amazing world of beauty all around me…The town, the flowers, the waters beyond…Right there and then, I realized how stupid I had been all those years of choosing to stay in the fog because so many years before that, someone had called me “four eyes.”
I decided then and there, that was the end of that…I would wear my glasses- because I wanted to see the world. I wanted to see people’s faces- to know who it was who was waving to me from across the street! I wanted to see the Beauty all around me…
This story comes to mind on the eve of my 70th Birthday…All through the decades, we transform, we change, we grow…We learn, we suffer, we cry, we laugh and smile. We are confused and lost, we are found and reborn- over and over again. We love and are loved, we abandon and are abandoned, we yearn, we dream, we hope, we desire. We explore and search…We find Truth and we somehow find the courage to honor all that Truth shows us. We are at war with ourselves, we make peace with ourselves. Day after day, year after year, decade after decade, little by little, we find a Sacred Place within our own Hearts…It was always there, it was always there. The Love was always there.
In that Sacred Place, there is no fog…and there is also no need for glasses…We see the story of our lives unfolding before us. We now see how all the millions of life experience moments have been creating this most precious Mosaic…It is the Story of our Life. It is the Imprint Life has made upon our Soul, and it is the unique and precious Imprint that we have made upon Life.
As I write this, I can visualize my mother, Sarah and my dad, Willie, here with me. I wonder what they would say to me… I thank them deeply for being the channel for my Birth and my Life. Their Essences are interwoven within me and are their Gifts to me on this special birthday.
So as I now cross this threshold to a new decade of life, I am aware that the time ahead of me is so much less than the time that has passed. I want to live each day as preciously as I can, as sacredly as I can, with as much Love and Commitment and Gratitude as I can. I want to SEE clearly…Though there is so much hardship and suffering in our world, I want to also see the Beauty and Love, feel the Beauty and Love that Life- All Life, All Sentient Beings- has to give…There stirs within an unquenchable desire for Ongoingness…
I remember well a quote from Anne Frank’s diary- unbeknownst to her, that her diary would one day be found, she had written, “I want to go on living even after my death…” And so she has- and she didn’t have to plan it or manipulate it in any way to make it happen. I kind of feel like that- I want to go on living even after my death… And I realize that the best way to be remembered is to live well, making beautiful memories with every person who touches my day…open to the imprint that they make upon me, and humbly grateful that I can-in some way- also create an imprint of memory upon them.
And so on the Eve of my 70th Birthday, I am filled with a new sense of Life that awaits me and all. I plan to celebrate this birthday in some small way every day of the year! Living each new day as a new Birth Day…I wear my glasses very proudly now…Thankful, there is so much yet to See…
With My Love and Peace Always,