The unlikely beginning
This evening, I sit in my hotel room, my heart full of wonder and gratitude at the amazing story of an event that had the possibility of never taking place.
One Tuesday morning, in the witching hour, just after the weekend, a young couple in a foreign land that had moved house from a major city to an almost rural town had to visit the hospital because the wife was feeling a bit unwell. She was kept under observation whilst her husband was sent home with the advice that he did not have to worry.
He woke up at 7:00 AM that morning to a telegram that not only had he become a father and he was needed at the hospital to sign some papers to allow for the child to be taken to a hospital in a bigger city because the maternity ward did not have the facilities to keep the child alive for long.
The improbable situation
That became the first story of a child, no bigger than the full stretch of his father’s hand, as he set off to spend some two months in incubation and his mother returning to work that day, no one the wiser that she had been a mother. The celebration had to wait.
Then six years ago, in his prime, after excess and much else that makes the story of a soul that walks this earth, there came another great threat, at the end of a diagnosis of cancer was the very probability that he only had five weeks to live, another difficult incubation of adversity, loss and recovery redefined his perspective as a survivor again. The bigger celebration will have to wait.
The unexpected results
Yet, the day cannot pass without an acknowledgement of the grace, the mercy, the love, the thankfulness and the gratitude for what in my seemingly ordinary life is turning into an extraordinary story.
Each day counting up to year and decade and today, I find that the improbable, the unlikely, the unexpected and the unusual have gathered into my story to make the remarkable at least to me and to the very many who have contributed so significantly to the life I now celebrate.
There are influences in my life that have shaped my outlook, my philosophy and my thinking, for this season, I am like another nativity scene born into stringent circumstances and given the opportunity to survive and thrive. To God be the glory for this day and this life, for my eyes have seen such beauty and wonder beyond my wildest dreams, my heart has felt heavy and full, my body has borne pain and pleasure and my feet has walked the paths of hope and adventure to fulfilment time and again.
My inexhaustible gratitude
My parents, my siblings, my wider family of uncles, aunties, cousins, relations, my friends and friendships, my acquaintances, helpers, succourers, neighbours, the loves of my life present and departed, the memories and there are many, thank you for having me and seeing me as one of you, as you have been burdened with my frailties and congregated to celebrate my successes, I am honoured beyond words can suitably express.
May we all find better stories to tell beyond where we are and find in our pursuit of happiness the joy of living, the appreciation of things great and small, counting our blessings daily and being thankful for all things.
I present myself to you again, a man at 50. God bless you all.