Yesterday was my golden birthday. I turned 20 on 20.
It didn't hit me that I was 20 until halfway through the day when I was on the phone with my Dad, while driving in the car with my Dad (more specifically, Fr. David). What? Yes, the fact that I have 3 fathers will be explained in a later post.
I mean, I knew yesterday was my birthday, and I knew how old I would be...I guess it just didn't sink in. On the phone, Dad said "do you feel old? You're 20 now. You're not a teenager anymore!"
"What?! Oh wow! I'm not a teenager anymore. I am 20 years old. Eww! That's so weird. I'm a big girl now." Or at least it went something like that. Meanwhile, Fr. David chuckled as I came to terms with my revelation. FD later asked me if I had any words of wisdom now that I have had two decades here on Earth.
At the time, I had nothing off the cuff to say except to recount one thing that I learned that morning. When I turned on the TV to find something to watch while I ate breakfast, Kingdom of Heaven was on. It is one of my all-time favorite movies, so naturally I watched the 45ish minutes that were left.
I started watching at the part where Jerusalem's army is being sent off to fight Saladin and his ever-encroaching army. Because the king is dumb and power-hungry and has an obvious lack of common sense, Balian knows that they will be riding to certain death. He stays behind to defend the people of Jerusalem. He sees his friend the Hospitaller in the line to leave, and they have the following conversation:
Balian of Ibelin: You go with the army?
Hospitaller: My order is with the army.
Balian of Ibelin: You go to certain death.
Hospitaller: All death is certain. I shall tell your father what I've seen you become.
What I had never realized before in the many times that I've watched this film is the true meaning of what Hospitaller says. Balian sees the futility and the risk of riding into battle, leaving food and water sources. He knows what will happen. And so does Hospitaller.
Balian knows that death is certain as he has seen enough of it. But I think he doesn't really understand. The wiser Hospitaller does know though.
All death is certain, for each and every one of us. No matter what we are doing...if we are riding into a predictable battle outcome or staying behind to defend the city or driving across the country or crossing the street. Death is certain for each of us.
Whoa. That is an interesting thing to finally understand on your birthday of all days. But as I see it, it is a good way to appreciate life.
In two decades (that is still weird to say!), I have been blessed with many wonderful people and things. So far I have had a pretty good life, and I am thankful. It was a humbling yet fun and excellent birthday.