Not long ago I was asked to write a poem for a woman's 80th birthday. I like it.
What have I done?
Where have I been?
Who have I known?
Who did I become?
You likely don’t remember your beginning, and
If you do you can assume your memory is not accurate.
None of it. Your memory of the events in your life
Leaves gaping holes and embellishes with manufactured experiences
That never took place. Memory is the most fallible aspect of life.
Without trusting memory how can you possibly embrace these questions
As if they matter, which is questionable in and of itself.
Tuning into your innermost heartsong is far more trustworthy
Than scanning the pages of a scrapbook.
Today, who do you know yourself to be?
You know, not by listing your many accomplishments for
You are wise enough to accept that for every accomplishment
Is a stone unturned, someone neglected, a lie told, a grudge held.
You will only truly know who you are today by listening
To your inner song, its resonance, its harmony, its honesty.
On this, your 80th birthday, you will be celebrated, feted, honored and extolled,
But you, and only you, can hear the inner chords from Life’s Heart,
The resonant hum that whispers Lillian, Lillian, Lillian.
That song will remain with you until the end.
It will continue to uplift and reassure, console you and release you,
Draw others to you, frighten some away.
It is your song, your composition, your unique melody
That you have been orchestrating your entire life,
Your indestructible song, your signature symphony,
Now 80 years in the making.
Nothing, no one is more reliable, more dependable than
The unique, magnificent and now ancient song in your heart.