Today is September 11.
Today is my daughter’s birthday.
When we received the phone call from our Social Worker, telling us we had a referral for a six week old Ethiopian girl, and that her birthday was September 11, I thought “What a day for a birthday.” The social worker, perhaps sensing the pause in my breath, said “and what a day for a birthday! September 11 is the Ethiopian New Year. It’s one of the biggest celebrations of the year.” With these words, and the blessing of a little girl, September 11 was transformed for our family.
Each and every day is somebody’s personal September 11. The day when your world collapsed, and all you believed and knew and understood to be truth fell into a pile of rubble while a crisp blue sky stood in the background. The day that ripped your very breath from your lungs and left your knees to buckle from beneath you.
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
The day that seemed to last a month and you didn’t have the strength to consider if tomorrow would come or how you would be a part of it.
The day that, when over, left you sleepless in your bed. Waking the next morning, only to think, even before you took your first breath, “Oh God. It’s real.”
“Into your hands, I commend my Spirit.”
And each and every day is a little girl’s birthday. A day of pink icing cakes, and new Barbie dolls and friends and streamers.
“Mommy, can I put the sprinkles on the cake before school?”
The day that was only made more perfect as she passed out fun size Kit-Kats to 24 classmates at the end of the day.
“Do you think my teacher will want a candy bar too?”
The day that ends with pizza and candles and family and JOY.
“I’m so glad we found each other and I’m in this forever family. We’re all pretty lucky.”
What a day for a birthday. These days dwell together, they share the same crisp, blue September sky because Emmanuel had a birthday. And Emmanuel had a Good Friday. And because of this, we all have Easter. We have the strength to live in a world of tensions, where birthdays are on September 11 and every other day of the year.