Well, it’s pretty easy to be grateful when you’ve got Facebook Friends by the minute wishing you a happy birthday, and memories like this one from last year cropping up. (As I post this, I realize I’m wearing the exact same shirt today as I did one year ago, so I’ll start out by saying I’m grateful I still (choose one) a) like my clothes, b) fit in my clothes. Oh, heck. I’ll choose both.
This was taken in France in the company of a group of remarkable women and a few fine men. Many of you know that I’ve been traveling these past five years on the trail of early Christian history in Europe. Travels have taken me to Turkey, Spain, England and France. Especially France. Such special stories from France, all ultimately centered around Mary Magdalene. For those of you who are not familiar with Mary Magdalene’s history and presence in France, maybe if I say “Madeleine” instead, the pieces may fall into place. Yep, that wonderful church in Paris where all the fashionable weddings take place. Yep, that cockle-shelled cookie the crumbling of which launched Marcel Proust on his 3,000 page epic A La Recherché Du Temps Perdu — Remembrance of Things Past. Why am I “mansplaining?” You people have read The DaVinci Code. But before that, there was Margaret Starbird and her Woman with the Alabaster Jar, as well as all the research done by Kathleen McGowan which resulted in her bestselling Magdalene series of historical novels. (Kathleen is who I’ve been traveling with this summer and the two prior.) My point is, Marie Madeleine, Mary Magdalene, Maria Magdalena, is in the spiritual DNA of southern France and much of Western Europe.
I’m going to be writing more about Mary Magdalene, a lot more. Turns out she’s in my spiritual DNA, as well. I first encountered her in the Christian Science Sunday School where every Easter Sunday I could look forward to a new scratchy petticoat and singing one of my favorite hymns. The first verse goes:
What brightness dawned in resurrection/And shown in Mary’s wondering eyes? Her heart was thrilled with new affection/She saw her Lord in Life arise.
I liked that idea of light reflecting back out of a woman’s “wondering eyes.” There was a lot I had started “wondering” about, myself. Still wondering, if truth be told.
My birthday misses her Feast Day (tomorrow) by just one day. It was funny, or “coincidental” (you know what they say about that word…) that out of that group of around forty people, there were four of us with birthdays on July 21, and three with birthdays on July 22. We each got a cupcake with a candle. Kind of sweet and special.
So winding up this edition of my gratitude journal, I’m grateful that my husband wanted to do something special for me this evening, and I’m grateful I had the courage to say what I really, really want: order in pizza, early into jammies, and a night of binge-watching Outlander. (I know! I know! But I’ve just found it!). I’m grateful I love my life and my husband so much I just want it to go on and on like this. Blessings on your day!