The Gift of Solitude

Dear Reader:

I followed John O’Donohue’s last stanza directions on how to spend my birthday yesterday…I did it in solitude.

On this echoing-day of your birth,
May you open the gift of solitude
In order to receive your soul;
Enter the generosity of silence
To hear your hidden heart,
Know the serenity of stillness
To be enfolded anew

By the miracle of your being.

My birthday started weeks ago with Jo and Colby’s stepping stone and continued with friends dropping by with Boo and Sammy the cardinal masks, flowers, meals, sweets, mountain tomatoes and apples, paintings in anticipated progress, and surcies of all kinds…including my brother’s generous “funny money! gift” 🙂 Thank you Ben! And lastly…ending, amazingly, with a stepping stone yesterday!

Yesterday was filled with texts, emails, funny birthday greetings, beautiful cards, and a  surprising unexpected call from a friend… returning from a darkness of lengthy treatments and surgery to the light of healing. It made my day!

I raised all the windows in the house…letting the cool breezes flow in while I listened to the happy birds thanking me for feeding them yesterday…the air was filled with chirping.

I re-read the last stanza of yesterday’s poem…and I was filled with gratitude for this precious gift on my natal day…being one of solitude that allowed me to thank my soul and Creator for another year of life, the generosity of silence that lifted my heart in gladness, and remaining still long enough to appreciate this day for simply “being.”

I will never be this age again on my birthday…it should be a time of reflection on the past and hopes for an unfolded future with adventures and opportunities galore.

Tonight the birthday celebration will begin…my adult children are taking me out to eat (in an outside dining area)…it is my favorite night of the year….when all of us can update the family on the highlights in our lives since last year and share the hopes for the future.

Then with Saturday comes the family birthday party for Jake…craziness, loudness, wildness, and total fun…the best way to end this beautiful fall month in which Jake and myself were so fortunate to be born in…and Mandy, Lassie, and John too. It is one of the most popular family birthday months.

I spent part of yesterday in the garden… anticipating all the new wonders that will appear this year…and opening Lassie’s gift that I saved to open on my “official” birthday.

Look at this stepping stone…I felt like it fit right in …in front of the singing, gurgling fountain. So pretty….Thank you Lassie! I love it!

Look at the butterfly wrapping paper…definitely symbolic of the number and variety of butterflies in the garden now…I feel like I am ducking to avoid a collision. 🙂

So until tomorrow….A Birthday Prayer

Thank you, God, for giving me another year of life.
Thank you for all the people who remembered me today
by sending cards, and letters, gifts and good wishes.

Thank you for all the experience of this past year;
for times of success which will always be happy memories,
for times of failure which reminded me of my own weakness and of my need for you,
for times of joy when the sun was shining,
for times of sadness which drove me to you.

Forgive me
for the hours I wasted,
for the chances I failed to take,
for the opportunities I missed this past year.
Help me in the days ahead to make this the best year yet,
and through it to bring good credit to myself,
happiness and pride to my loved ones,
and joy to you. Amen.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

While I was enjoying my sedentary birth day…Jake had waited all day for his big birthday present and when he got it….he was anything but sedentary! An electric scooter! He even let Eva Cate play too.

And I don’t think he will be forgetting what number birthday this one is….

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to The Gift of Solitude

  1. Honey Burrell says:

    Always remember that you have been the positive light in so many lives! You are loved deeply by more people than you can even imagine! Having Boo as a friend is a gift I cherish each and everyday. Enjoy your family outings and celebrations!
    With love and many blessings ❤️😘❤️


    • Becky Dingle says:

      i love you Honey….and you are right…the little chapel is calling…will check my October calendar ….fall at the chapel is beautiful!


  2. Lynn Gamache says:

    Another birthday past…another year ahead! And before that, another day filled with mercies that come fresh from our Father’s hand to us, sent with love. Rejoicing with you at this special season of the year. How wonderful to share your birthday smonth with other close family members. In our circle this past week was extra special too as our son-in-law in Colorado celebrated his birthday on Tues. the 22nd. Next came Bryon (same son-in-law) and Christy’s 14th wedding anniversary on the 23rd and finally my brother-in-law’s 75th birthday down in Virginia on the 24th (your special day!) So your blog of yesterday has been sent along to Dale and Sherry. And this is not the first time to send along your writings as Sherry is also a great lover of flowers and butterflies and all things beautiful, just like you, Becky. Thank your for the time you take each day to help us all pause to think, ponder and pray. Blessings to you and yours again today!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thank you Lynn….our world might grow smaller in a pandemic…but in many ways…it makes this time more memorable doesn’t it?


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