I celebrated this milestone with a party at the weekend, attended by students, sisters and friends from near and far, including some dear friends I've known all or most of my life. There was plenty of laughter and reminiscing, and emotion, too, as I remembered my parents, whom my childhood friends knew well.
And love; there was so much love, respect, tenderness and affection in the gathering, it was tangible. A great joy and privilege of religious life is that we are freed to love as widely and deeply as we can. That we can be loved in return is a bonus, part of the hundredfold Jesus promised his followers, and the other day, at my half-hundred, I received a hundredfold in a great, golden wave of love and affection, bathing me in its tide. It wasn't just the friends who came and hugged and celebrated... or the sisters who baked, pitched in and supported... or the little army of students who ensured everything ran smoothly, cooked delicious food and cleaned up so efficiently... it wasn't even the friendly interactions between strangers from such different backgrounds... or the way my friends were so charmed and impressed by the students and kept telling me how lucky I am... it was all that and more.
I went to bed feeling very blessed, and have continued to feel so ever since. I have received some beautiful birthday presents: but that gift from God, my half-hundred hundredfold, totally unexpected and therefore totally overwhelming, will endure the longest in my heart.
The party included some serenading by Tihi and Miriam, some of which was video'd. I hope you enjoy this, the opening song, and can feel some of the magic of the moment.