The Best Day of My Life
Today is the 7th anniversary of the best day of my life.
Because I live in a culture largely based on the number 10 and its multiples, however, making a big deal of a 7th anniversary may seem odd. But 7 is my favorite number. I didn’t realize this initially, but I think it always has been. As a teenager, I thought 25 was my favorite number; it’s the number I always requested for my sports uniforms. I didn’t realize then that 25 is 7, numerologically, when you add the 2 and 5 together. I also happen to be an enneagram 7 (of course!) and spending as much time in the Bible as I do, it’s hard to miss 7’s significance there— namely, wholeness or completion. Lovely concepts and goals to strive for! So it’s a number that always gets my attention. But I digress …
Today is also Pentecost, the approximate 2000th anniversary of the day the promised gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the initial followers of Jesus after his death, resurrection, and ascension. Considering what happened to me 7 years ago, it feels particularly appropriate for this anniversary to fall on Pentecost.
I remember pausing in my journaling at the end of the day on May 28, 2016, before writing the words “best day of my life” to reflect on the veracity of those words. That was a mighty profound claim to make, after all. Could I truthfully stand by that statement? After some contemplation, I decided that I could.
In the weeks and months that followed, as I publicly shared that single-sentence revelation to my friends, many of them immediately, and annoyingly, jumped to the conclusion that I must have received a marriage proposal on that day. Really? THAT’S the thing that would make me declare May 28, 2016, better than any other day of my life?? Did they not know me any better than that??? [The fact that I did actually, kinda, sorta, in a way, get a proposal that day is completely beside the point! That event was only one of many occurrences that transpired, and it was, by far, the least important!]
So what DID happen on May 28, 2016? A series of perfect moments that added up to a wholly complete and perfect day.
I was in Split, Croatia, connecting with my Balkan roots. I’d purchased a ticket for a day-long tour of several islands which meant I got to spend the day on the beautiful Adriatic. As a Pisces, that’s like a day in heaven. The weather was absolutely flawless: sunny, light breeze, low humidity, around 75 degrees. Ah … perfection.
Nine passengers from various countries made up our spacious speedboat group. We started with a two-hour trip to the farthest island and then slowly made our way back to the coast, stopping at various islands and places of interest along the way. The two adorable millennial captains broadcast a playlist throughout the day that started with Barry White’s “You’re My First, My Last, My Everything.” Ah … that deep, rich, resonant voice is the perfect way to start any experience! It put a smile on my face that remained most of the day.
It was certainly there when several dolphins joined our journey, leaping playfully alongside our boat. It was there when we visited the Blue Cave, the Green Cave, and the quaint old fishing village on Vis. It was certainly there when I took a dip into the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic and then dried off by sunbathing on the back of the boat as it motored through the sea. It was there during a simple and delicious lunch of pasta and fresh mussels, salad, and still-warm-from-the-oven bread. This perfectly yummy meal took place outside under the trees, with a dazzling view of the sparkling water, on a tiny island with only one building—the restaurant with accompanying sleeping quarters for the sole inhabitant … the somewhat gruff older man who grabbed me by the hand, kissed it, pulled me onto his lap and asked if I wanted to live there with him (which did deepen my smile even though I turned him down—now if I could have lived there without him … 😏). And it most definitely was there at our last stop, the island of Hvar, when I discovered that the old city contained the Radosevic Palace, a large manor house that perhaps a distant relative had built.
But it was during the final 45-minute boat ride back to Split that I couldn’t stop smiling. The temperature had dipped a bit, and we were traveling pretty quickly, so the wind was brisk. One by one, the others on the boat put on their windbreakers. Even the one brash German teen—travelling with four of his friends who had all just graduated from high school—perched at the helm and defiantly determined NOT to succumb to the cold (and thus prove his mettle to his buddies) finally caved and begrudgingly donned his jacket. I was the only one who didn’t, remaining in my short-sleeved T-shirt.
I certainly wasn’t trying to be tough or prove to anyone how superior I was; I simply wasn’t cold. In fact, I wanted more. The robust wind whipping through my hair and blasting against my skin invigorated me … wholly and completely. I was very conscious of how energized, exhilarated, ALIVE I felt. It’s like the wind was passing right through me and, as it did, every cell—every molecule—in my body had tiny lungs that were exponentially expanding with a high voltage boost of … LIFE! … that transported the essence of my very being to a plain of existence not of this world. I’d never experienced anything like it before. Later, sharing this story with a wise crone friend of mine, she immediately recognized it for what it was. “Oh, you were plugged into your life force.” That, my friends, is exactly what had happened. And if that’s not a version of complete and holistic perfection, I don’t know what is.
I think that some version of that is maybe what Pentecost is meant to be for us—an opportunity to plug in to our spiritual life force in a way that transports us to a more mystical, divine reality, even if just temporarily. Of course, we have the occasion to do that in a minor sense every single time we take a breath. The Hebrew word RUACH means wind, breath, and Spirit. I love the potential overlap of these words and what they represent. Naturally, we need to breathe to live. But what if we trained ourselves to be more conscious of those breaths not just giving us physical life, but also giving us a chance to holistically connect with Spirit as well? Often, our quest for wholeness begins with a desire or need for inspiration. Etymologically, “inspiration” is a recognition of this overlap. When we breathe in air/wind, we are in-Spiriting—or in-spiring—ourselves, pulling in Spirit (and, potentially, our spiritual life force) with each of those RUACH breaths. I LOVE that!
Of course, we can’t literally think of all this for every breath we take—we’d never be able to focus on anything else! But maybe we shouldn’t wait for a 7-year anniversary to be reminded of it, either. A balance needs to be struck where, not constant but regular recognition of, and conscious tuning into, RUACH creates small, “perfect,” complete moments of energy, invigoration, and LIFE that might just eventually add up to a holistically “perfect” experience … maybe even the best experience—or day—of our lives.