Thursday, December 14, 2006

Celebrating 35 Years... And The Blessings Of Life

I was originally going to write to you this day about healing from a dark birthday in 1981, when I fell and broke my arm while at a roller-skating party. I had invited my entire grade-school class, and I had only been on the rink for 15 minutes when a couple of boys chasing each other ran into me. My right arm hit the floor... and the party was over.

Instead of cake and presents that afternoon, I received local anesthetic and cheesy jokes from nurses. I dealt with pain. I dealt with sadness. I also dealt with a feeling of doom, that my life was not meant for the kind of happiness others enjoyed, something I would carry into my later years.

But today, I see no need. Not after what I call a Miracle Moment.

I wore my gold-trimmed tricorn to work today, openly expressing the joy of another birthday. (Yes, it's the same one Captain Burgundy wore.) Dan Marries snapped the picture you see here, of studio crew member Nolan stylishly delivering me some birthday well wishes during a lull in the evening shift. While I am thankful and grateful for that moment, the one that highlighted this day came several hours earlier, when an elementary school class toured the newsroom.

They asked me some questions about what a news producer does, and I gladly gave them answers. But undoubtedly, somebody asked the obvious query:

"Why are you wearing that hat?"

"I usually don't, but today is my birthday, and this is how I'm celebrating."

Without prompting or prodding, at least half this class of 30 or more instantly broke into a spontaneous rendition of "Happy Birthday," with others joining in as the song progressed.

I keep thinking back to this moment, realizing how blessed -- not cursed -- I am to be alive. It seems pointless to dwell on the heartbreak of youth when so much has happened in the past year to heal it. Yet it is that heartbreak that underscores the joy and gives it meaning.

Life is worth living, and I couldn't ask for a better birthday present.

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