Growing up, I never imagined what life would be like in my 30s. I never had a grand plan for how my future would unfold. I think my health issues kept me grounded with the belief that each new day was a gift, so why set expectations?
It’s hard to believe that 14 years ago my family was called to say their goodbyes before doctors performed emergency stomach surgery on me for internal bleeding. Now, here I am, a grown woman turning 33 years old today.
It is overwhelming to reflect on how I got to this very moment in life. It has been 33 years full of trials and pain – that I would not wish on anyone – mixed with amazing gifts and unconditional love that have made it an extraordinarily beautiful life. The tough times have polished me into the strong, grateful woman that I am today, and I have learned that it’s important to love life fully – not just the celebratory moments, but the challenging ones, too. It’s important to reflect on our lives and be grateful for the life we’ve been given, not just on days of celebration, but every day.
As I’m being gifted with another year of life, I want to share an extraordinary gift I received in hopes that this story will inspire you as much as it does me. At the end of last year, I had the privilege of crossing paths with Michelle Risi on social media, and I greatly look forward to the day I meet this kindred spirit in person. She is an amazing woman who is a Board member of the PKD Foundation of Canada. Michelle has endless talents, including being an artist. One evening last fall, she was compelled to paint a female silhouette. As she was painting, Michelle felt there was a bigger purpose behind the painting. Once completed, Michelle admired the colorful painting as she looked for the emotion she was portraying and the meaning to the painted character’s being. Michelle knew she had created something special. She reached out to her friend Robin, asked her to look at the painting and write what came to her heart. Through this collaboration, the title, “Becoming” was born, and the girl in the painting had her story.
Here is the poem Robin wrote:
She leapt into her life
She walked her own path
She stood in solitude,
Until she finally took her seat in the quiet serenity that comes
She rested on the shoulders of many
They nestled in her soul
Together they created an enlightened place, and space that
With the grace of a goddess,
The sensuality of a siren,
Her soul danced to the music in her heart, With each beat she
sank deeper into the sigh that comes from…becoming.
And thus this woman of goodness,
Of light and love,
Of tranquil power,
Looked to the sun and for the first time discovered that she
A few days later, Michelle and I connected on Facebook and she learned more about my journey. As Michelle read Robin’s words and looked at the painting she had created, she reflected on my journey. At that moment, Michelle said she immediately knew the painting was mine. The magical part is that both the painting and the words were created without her or Robin knowing my story.
I was overwhelmed with emotions when I received Michelle’s outstanding work of art along with a personal letter and the poem “Becoming.” The timing of everything inspired me – the way it all came to fruition and the way that woman in the painting became “me,” because I love “her.”
I am honored to have Michelle’s beautiful painting hanging on the wall next to our front door. As I celebrate my 33rd birthday today, I will admire this remarkable gift. It encourages me to pause and connect with myself, feel gratitude for my life and for my place in the world. It’s a beautiful remembrance of how I have “become.”
Cheers to 33, how I’ve become and who I have yet to become! Do you have something in your home that you look at daily for inspiration and guidance that encourages you to love your life?