Twenty-Seven Candles

I was going to begin this post with a brief roll call of all of my favorite celebrities (Audrey Hep, Audrey Tat, Audra McD) and what kinds of scintillating, accomplished things they were doing at the age of twenty-seven. But then my friend Jose noted that Audrey Hep starred in "War and Peace" at the age of 27, and when I think about doing Tolstoy in my latter 20s? Really understanding and embracing and then personifying the Russian noble's masterpiece? I'm like...uh...maybe I'll just eat this fistful of M&Ms before 9am while I ponder those implications.

Comparisons are only helpful in algebra, or stoichiometry, I've discovered.

So here is a simple affirmation of the twenty-seven that I am today. I am a sister, a daughter, a wife. I am learning to be a better friend. I am a writer by trade and a student by night and a calligrapher on the side. I'm preparing to be someone's mother, as well, which is the most humbling role I've starred in yet in my career.

Most importantly, I'm God's child. And this year, for my birthday, I've asked Him for one gift, the gift of strength. I'm excited for the prospects of what 27 will bring, but I realize more and more in my adult life that I really need an extra measure of strength with each passing year.

I cried intermittently on this day last year, when I turned twenty-six. Twenty-six seemed so un-cute and so empty of prospects. If only I had had the gumption to give myself a good shaking, to strong-arm that fear of being a fruitless twentysomething right out of myself. I really was writhing on my hot pink bed in our matchbox-sized apartment for 2 hours that day, mourning all of the things that I wasn't...yet. And twelve months later, I am having a difficult time remembering when to enter: stage left or exit: stage right for the multiple roles that I've been cast. It takes strength to perform them all, and perform them well.

Sometimes I shy away from delivering the lines that I know that I am meant to deliver, like, Please do not touch the belly; it is an exhibit in the museum of human gestation and Thank you for loading the dishwasher while I was busy having an irrational lash-out. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the costume changes, particularly as my petite figure has been exchanged for a fat suit that cannot be shed with an unzip, unsnap.

I know that I have the strength within me to overcome my stage fright, to overcome the fear of looking out at a whole audience crossing its legs and breathing a collective sigh of disappointment by my performance.

One word that Pastor David Asscherick coined that I heard this last year was that of a Godience, an audience of one. And if I focus on pleasing that one audience member, that one critic who understands the stage better than anyone because He created it, then I will not have to bleat like Sally Field, "You really like me, you really like me," because the only review that will matter is whether I've been a good and faithful servant because of this strength, this strength times twenty-seven.