On August 30, I celebrated my 37th birthday.
I had a very small gathering at a cozy, candle-lit wine bar in Greenwich Village, called 8th Street Wine Cellar. It was the same place I celebrated my 32nd birthday, just one day before moving home to Los Angeles and discovering my husband’s infidelity.
I remember pacing the sidewalk, arguing with X over the phone right before my party started. I didn’t understand why he was so volatile. I didn’t understand why I was so angry with him.
We left the conversation unresolved. He mumbled “Happy Birthday,” and I hung up. I walked down the stairs, into the cool cellar where my friends were waiting. Almost immediately, I was happy again. I was loved. I was celebrated. And I felt torn. I didn’t want to leave New York but I had to try and save my marriage.
It would be more than two years before I returned to New York City. And every time I did, I arranged social gatherings at 8th Street Wine Cellar.
In December 2011, my boyfriend (at the time) surprised me with a trip. I was beside myself with joy. I took him to all my favorite places, including the wine bar. We shared Malbec and charcuterie with my friend (and future roommate), Christy.
In December 2012, I sat in a corner booth with Christy and cried.
“I want to move here,” I blubbered, as tears streamed down my cheeks. “I have to live in New York. But I am so afraid.”
Christy took my hand. “I believe you belong in this city,” she said, gently. “I know God will make a way for it to happen.”
And He did.
In December 2013, after having just found our current apartment, Christy and I sat in the very same corner booth and sketched living room designs on a Tempranillo-stained napkin.
Last Saturday, I celebrated my 37th birthday at 8th Street Wine Cellar. What is more, I experienced a miracle. A full circle. I celebrated God’s kindness in restoring me from the pit of divorce; the ashes of pain and loss. I rejoiced in the fact that even though my marriage failed, I had not. I proclaimed God graciously carried me back to the city where I had begun to find my true identity. I applauded the goodness of singlehood. Over wine and in candlelight, I laughed with my friends at horrible dating stories, parenting snafus and work crises.
I raised a glass to healing and hope.
Thirty-seven is the year of surrender. I know not what the tomorrow may bring. What I do know is that I am fiercely loved. My future – whatever it holds – is bright and full of life.
Thanks be to God.
Amen and happy birthday, love!