Leaning on the door frame
I saw the birthday party hum.
People in perpetual motion,
Swirling in and out of the kitchen,
Dealing brightly colored paper plates
Like a deck of cards at a poker game,
Landing soft as a feather in front of the cake.
Melting ice cubes chinked as they carried the cups.
The conversation was full of giggles and loud laughs,
Little children running like yard cats circling the table.
The woman of the day celebrated 100 years of her life.
She sat at the head of the table drinking in the sights,
Smiling and nodding as she was kissed and given gifts
By excited relatives, friendly neighbors and well wishers.
She was happy to be so honored and respected.
There was a twinge of sadness hiding behind her smile.
I drifted toward her to offer my congratulations, and,
As I was invited to sit near her, she began to reminisce.
I sat back and just listened as she recounted her long life.
She spoke of history unfolding, family increasing, friends gone.
She seemed happy, settled and content, except for something missed.
I listened to more than her words; I listened deeper into her heart
And she offered up her troubling hurt from since birth.
She revealed in a hushed whisper she was born illegitimate.
Her father abandoned them, shaming her mother, never to return.
She said it was hard to grow up scorned by neighbors and family
And here she is now, all these years later, honored by their descendants.
She remarked how strange Life can be and felt good that times do change.
Yet the harsh memories still haunted; her family did not know her hurt.
She quickly fell silent, spent, and with searching eyes looked into mine.
She probed for acceptance, reassurance and words that felt right.
I held her gaze tenderly and said what I believed to be true.
She started to tremble, half afraid, half excited; she said she felt new.
I told her none of us can control how we come into this world.
What we can control is how we choose to live and love in this world.
Her voice quivered, as she wept next to me, while the party, like her, began to calm.
“For a life time I’ve craved to hear loving words that I was worthy.”
She settled back into her chair and straightened her shoulders with new pride.
Now the smile was genuine, her heart refreshed; she put down her burden to live.
To her family, her friends, her neighbors, the world: that was her Love Gift.
Copyright 14 May 2010
All Rights Reserved
- The Long Road, An Easter Poem (poemsfromaspiritualheart.blogspot.com)
- 57 Best Of Clever Romantic Valentines Day Photos (visualinsights.blogspot.com)
Happy Birthday Cake by Omer Wazir @ flickr
Secret garden gate by ARendle @ flickr
Steps into the light by extranoise @ flickr
Water lilies in the light by tinyfroglet @ flickr
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