50 - An invitation to Share Kindness

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Today I am celebrating my 50th birthday. I don’t share this news with hopes for well wishes or reassurances that 50 is really not that old. I am sharing this because I cannot help but think that having the opportunity to grow older and to age is a total miraculous privilege worth celebrating and not afforded to everyone!!! 
 
Without a doubt, my joints that were once quiet, now clamor for my attention. Increasingly, I cannot remember simple, self-assigned tasks from one room to the next. But, weighed against not getting older, these all seem like very small prices to pay!
 
Like many of my friends turning 50 I think we value the gifts of the friendships we have acquired and the family members who have stood by our sides in good times and in bad. I may not always shout out-loud for the blessings of my life but I want you to know that I count you ALL among them! I didn't want to let this milestone pass me by without paying some sort of homage to it. So thank you - for all the ways you have made my life richer by your presence and your love for me! As I take stock of my life I feel truly blessed to have shared it with some incredible soul-filled friends and my truly devoted family. 
 
Many friends and family have asked how I would like to celebrate the big FIVE-O. I have spent the last few weeks thinking about the many random acts of kindnesses that have changed my life and how humbled I have felt by those who have helped me over the years…just because.
 
As many of you know, my pastoral job allows me the privilege of encountering folks at fragile thresholds. I have been blessed to meet and accompany new friends in declining health, to carry, to comfort, and to serve them. Perhaps because I have been loved well; I recognize that sometimes love is waiting with someone in the midst of an upside-down world. 
 
Last year, I met a single mother of two young teenage children. She is a woman of deep faith and courage; despite all the pain and sorrow she has been through the last year of her declining health. Because of her diagnosis, her work hours and energy have been on the decline. A short time ago, she lost her home. Thankfully, with the care of her community she just recently moved into a new apartment with her children and she is beginning to dream about her future and theirs.
 
While reflecting on a year in my own life, I realize that sometimes we just need the benefit of a fresh start and the kindness of strangers. As fate would have it, like me, she is turning 50 in May of this year and I would like to use this milestone for me -  to help to give her a leg up! I keep thinking it would be wonderful to offer her spirit some relief. I have spent a great deal of time in contemplation this Lent and I began to think about what would it look like to offer her the gift of time. I would love if we could offer her the freedom of a rent free year. A year in which she can focus on her healing, and most importantly some unburdened time with her children. Perhaps to take a few pressing medical bills off her plate and to remind her of the kindness of strangers and the love of God. There are many reasons we miss opportunities for kindness…too busy, running late, “not my business,” etc. but joining her in prayer and generosity is something I am asking you to consider.
 
I just received a birthday card which read, “Life begins at 50!" What a great reminder to celebrate whatever we can, whenever we can, and to take absolutely nothing for granted. Nothing except, maybe, that the longer we live, the more we have to share. Please consider helping me to create an everyday miracle for this new friend and her children! It takes a village and I am deeply grateful that you are a part of mine! Please consider your prayers and sharing this message with your social media outlets. 

I offer this message in gratitude for the gifts you have shared with me during my 50 years of Life! 
I am truly Blessed.

Bernadette
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Organizer

Bernadette Moore-Gibson 
Organizer
Michigan City, IN
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