This was the way the celebration of Kristina’s thirtieth birthday began last Friday. She was on personal retreat at Latrun, and when Donna and Josh arrived to collect her, she thought it was to return to Jerusalem. But we hijacked the car with balloons instead and spent the day all together at the beach, which is one of Kristina’s favorite places. We began with song.
The sound of our voices mixed with the landfall of waves. Songs about the majesty of nature, particularly the ocean, were chosen. Psalm 139 was read aloud. For many minutes, we simply listened.
At our community parties, time is usually set aside for sharing with the guest of honor words of encouragement, and on Friday, after the last song fell off, several people expressed appreciation and admiration for our nurse and friend. As a long term member of Shevet Achim, her positive presence in the community is felt in every quarter.
To present Kristina with something more tangible than words, we asked her to take a twenty minute walk down the beach while we set up a certain surprise. When she returned, thirty presents were spread in a line on the sand, prepared by members of the community. She opened them one by one, ranging from the sentimental to the ridiculous.
For one of her gifts she had to suffer through this:
But most of the gifts were kinder.
Afterwards several of us body surfed the waves. It felt like warm swaying in the zero gravity embrace of mother.
Happy 30th Kristina! May your next decade know the smile of God, as have the last three.