By the end of the day, I tearfully and dramatically (sometimes I have the maturity of a 2 year old) exclaimed, "I just don't want to have my birthday here in Tonga tomorrow". Because clearly that's a reasonable thing to try and fix.
And today, on my 26th birthday, I have had a "perfect" day, as Vaiola said on our walk home from the beach. And I truly have.
The weather, the food, the speeches, the prayers, the conversations, the friends, the tears, and finally the moon. All perfect.
I know God is huge, bigger than I can understand, and that there's a huge world out there (which also, I am relearning, is much bigger than I understand). And there are wars and love and death and life and far more important things than my birthday, and far more important people than me; but for a moment, for one tiniest flicker of a most humbling second, I knew, not just in my head, but from the deepest place inside me, that He saw me. That the day was a gift. That Tonga was the right place. That I could rest assured he'd thought it all out. Sometimes I think life is worth living for the chance of a handful of those moments strewn across a lifetime.
Today I am thankful. Thankful for a lot of things, but above all else that my maker is a father, and most importantly, a teacher. I've got a lot to learn.
A grateful student,