The Gift of Ninety

We have recently returned from a trip to Florida to celebrate my only remaining Aunt’s ninetieth birthday. It was a festive occasion in which she danced and laughed exuberantly. Her memory honeycombed with dementia, she smiled and said to me, “I don’t know why we’re all together, but I’m having a wonderful time!”

Would that we all could shout this existential theology! For the occasion, I composed this poem, which I wanted to share with you.

The gift of ninety comes to us
as soft snow crystals
landing on a child’s open hand,
as song of meadowlark and thrush
within a lightening dawn.
Not by strength
or will
or hope alone
do we receive this time,
But as the bloom turns to the sunlight,
and the sea drinks in the rain
do we receive this gift,
all gift,
as creatures living by the hand of God.