Today is my birthday! Which, by very definition, means that it’s your birthday too!
I got up early this morning — I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about this whole twin thing that we have going on.
Do you know that twins aren’t really all that special? At least not fraternal ones. If you google it, you’ll discover a plethora of articles that will tell you that 2/3 of all twins are fraternal and that this type of twinning, in essence, produces something that is not quite special at all — two siblings who were born at the same time. Fraternal twins (the non-identical sort) are just products of hyperovulation. Our mother overproduced two eggs instead one and they were both fertilized at the same time. Voila! Here we are. Simple.
Except it’s not that simple, is it?
I was born with a best friend, a confidant, a sister-in-arms, a sparring partner, a constant source of encouragement, both a business partner and a partner-in-crime. Most days, I feel that I was born with the love of my life. I don’t really know how to describe it or rather, I didn’t know until this morning.
I’ve been reading and thinking about the concept of the Triune God lately (which no doubt seems a weird segue in a letter that’s meant to be an ode, but stay with me). I’ve never dwelt for very long on the concept that God is one God in three persons — it’s one of those I’m-a-Christian-check-in-the-box type ideas that I’ve never thought very deeply about, but it came up last night on TV. And then I woke this morning and it was in a book I was reading.
Alistar McGrath says that the Trinity “allows the individuality of the persons to be maintained, while insisting that each person shares in the life of the other two. An image often used to express this idea is that of a ‘community of being,’ in which each person, while maintaining its distinctive identity, penetrates the others and is penetrated by them.” [emphasis mine]
I’m in no way comparing us to the Trinity, but we are two distinct individuals who share in the lives of each other and the phrase “community of being” rings true in my heart. I was born into community with you. I have a fundamental understanding of relationships and love because I’ve always known it with you (and conversely, through this relationship, I kind of understand what the Trinity is all about). I can’t say what happened when we were babies since there are limits to human memory, but I imagine that rolling over and feeling you next to me in our crib was infinitely comforting. Even now, just talking to you soothes me in a way that nothing else does.
There’s this African proverb that goes I am because you are and I find it profound because it, like the community of being, captures us perfectly. You and I bear witness to each other’s existence in a way that very few people understand. My first tooth and your first step. Our first haircut, the time Dad forgot you at the mall, or when I got into that weird fight on the playground. The time you broke your leg when we lived in Virginia. There is no memory or time for me where you do not exist. When I get to the end of my thoughts, I always find you.
I am eternally grateful for you. I honestly don’t know how singletons make it in this world without a twin who has their back! Thank you for always having mine. Happy Birthday. Love you to the moon (and back again).