In my lifetime, I'd only had one other birthday "party". It was when I was about six years old. My mom invited a few friends from school. I have control issues, so the days leading up to this past Friday became frustrating for my coworkers. I kept thinking no one would come. I kept thinking I was inconveniencing people. I kept worrying about people spending money. They finally had to tell me to relax and be quiet.
I walked into the party with my coworker, and Detach reader, Sally. A few people were already there. But the big long table that was reserved was mainly empty. I immediately started thinking no one was coming. The ones who were there started greeting me. I went around and hugged them all. Then as people started arriving (yes, they did eventually arrive) I got up to greet each of them as well. By then I was beginning to relax. I'd had some drinks, and felt very comfortable.The empty tables were now filled with about 18–20 people. The restaurant was warm and inviting. It quickly became a scene full of love, happiness, and friendships I've had, some as long as 30 years now. I was relaxed and so incredibly happy, and overwhelmed at the show of love.
In my life, for so long now, when there has been a special event...any event...it has always been marred by some type of alcohol related drama. Parties always take a turn. Fun things always seem to have a way of becoming unpleasant for me. This event was no different. Alcoholism tried to sabotage it the day before, but I pulled together all my counseling techniques, and cast the drama aside. So by the time the party came, nothing was looming over me. No worries. Just genuine happiness and celebration filled our room. You don't know what a strange and foreign feeling that was for me. Just to be able to relax, and for once not worry about what other people were doing, or more importantly, what they were going to do later. It was very liberating.
After everyone had ordered, our waitress came to the table with an announcement. She quietly told us that an anonymous customer in the restaurant was paying our entire tab! Everyone was astounded. Very happy, but astounded. Who would do something like this, and why? We all started scanning the room, trying to figure out who it might be! I had my back to most of the restaurant, so a coworker sitting across from me, was doing the detective work. She concluded it must be the two 60 something gentlemen sitting at the bar. While I was thankful, I was also hoping they would not expect something in return. That they would not come over and try to pick someone up.
Next the waitress came back and told me the gentleman was cashing out his tab, so anything we purchased from that point forward would be on our own. She gave me the receipt. The total was about $350 and included a $50 tip for her. What she told me next, I will never forget as long as I live. She told me the man had said "There are not enough men in this world who appreciate a beautiful 50-year-old woman". Of course that made me tear up. She told me she had never seen anything like this the whole time she had been a waitress. I told her how moved I was. I told her if the person was still in the restaurant to please tell him he had no idea what this meant to me--that the past few years have been very turbulent for me, and this had touched me very deeply. By this time she had tears in her eyes as well, and told me I had no idea how much it had touched her! In addition to the large tip the man had given her, most of my friends were also giving her $10 and $20 tips. Not only did the man pay it forward to us, but we had paid it forward to her. About this time, everyone at my table decides to sing me a very loud and rousing "Happy Birthday". Tears of happiness and pure joy were streaming down my face.
A few minutes later, the waitress comes back and tells us the gentleman is leaving. She felt it would be okay for us all to give him a round of applause when he left. Imagine my surprise when we looked at the door and it was a handsome young man, about 35-40 years old, with his wife and two children!!!! We started cheering and clapping. He modestly turned around and smiled and waved at us. Then he went on. He wanted nothing from us. He had no ulterior motive.
My wise and deeply spiritual friend Margo came up to me, grabbed my hands, and looked me dead in the eyes. She said to me, "That man felt the love in this room. He saw the diversity. He felt the goodness. He felt your wonderful, and happy energy. You deserve this Mary. Be happy. We are all so blessed".
At this point, people slowly started leaving. Eventually there were three of us who were going to walk down the block and watch a set of live music at a blues club. I needed some cash, so we went inside another restaurant that had an ATM. As we were walking down the basement stairs to get to it, a man was coming up the stairs. None of us were saying anything or looking at him, but as he passed the three of us he smiled and said "God bless you all". It was the strangest thing.
When we got to the blues bar, I ran into a man I recognized from many years past. He dated Miss Pamela for a while. I wasn't putting two and two together, and remembering that he was a bass player. After a few minutes, he excused himself and said it was time to go on stage. I said "Oh! You are playing tonight?". He laughed and said yes. During his set, he wished me Happy Birthday. The next song his band performed was "Dead Flowers" by The Rolling Stones. A song I have always loved.
This night was magical for me. I feel like God was shining a special blessing on my life. Somehow showing me that things are changing. That even though I have felt so much sadness, turmoil, and anxiety for the past few years, I have also been given happiness and friendship. I am a firm believer, this happened for a reason. To show me where true love lies. To show me what is important. To show me if I will believe in myself and allow myself to shine, good things will come to me. This was the most wonderful blessing I could have received on this 50th birthday.