One of my aunts swears she remembers being born.

“I remember darkness and warmth, and all of a sudden this bright light and loud noise…  It was horrible!”

I love hearing her tell the whole story because she tells it so well, and of course, she tells it tongue-in-cheek.  Nobody remembers being born.  Nobody remembers with full clarity those first weeks in the outer world, becoming accustomed to air and feeding, hot and cold, light and sound.  We don’t remember.

But our loved ones do.

My mother remembers well the white walls of the hospital halls, the needles and nurses, the mind-numbing pain and soul stirring joy of giving birth.

My father remembers the frantic drive to the ER on a cold December night, the long hours waiting for news, the bone-crunching grip of my mother’s hand in his and the thrill of being a father for the first time.

My grandmother remembers getting the news that she at last had a grandchild of her own, and the joy and pride and gratefulness she felt for her children.

As I turn 29 today, I am reminded by the well-wishes of so many that none of us are ever truly self-sufficient or self-contained.  We’ve been helped and supported, hindered or hurt, pushed up or down by others to make us who we are today, and we are part of a story that is much bigger than the scope of our little life.  Our lives touches others, and those touch others, and those stretch farther still, and if you step back far enough to take it all in, you’ll see it…

The image of God, painted in people, one memory, decision and birth at a time.

How are you painting today?