I’m parked on my front porch swing absorbing the beauty of a sunshine-filled day with baby blue skies dotted by fluffy clouds while being cooled by a balmy, light breeze and I’m contemplating life.
Why such a serious subject on a gorgeous summery day you may wonder. Simple answer, my birthday’s drawing nigh.
I think when you pass a significant number of years in age, you really begin taking stock of your life, how you’ve lived it thus far, and how you want to live what years remain. Let’s just call that maturity.
Someone once said, “We know we’re getting old when the only thing we want for our birthday is not to be reminded of it.” I don’t necessarily relish birthdays any more especially when I stop to calculate how old I really am. But I do like to reflect on years past and consider the future when my birth date rolls around on the calendar.
A friend and co-worker deposited a lovely polka-dotted gift bag on my desk yesterday. She inquired whether I’d be savoring birthday cake for my special day; I replied negatively. There’s really no sense in having cake for just hubby and me here at the empty nest. We’d end up eating the entire thing ourselves and goodness knows, neither one of us needs all those calories!
Besides, if I’m going to indulge in sweets for the day commemorating just how close I’m creeping towards the big 6-O, then I’d much rather have a big ol’ vanilla cream-filled powdered sugar doughnut. Yep, I’d go for the sugar gusto of a doughnut over cake any day. So, even though cake is yummy, no cake for me this year.
No cake, no candles, no party and I’ve told hubby to not spend money on gifts either. Really, material things don’t matter much to me anymore, and receiving gifts, while lovely, just doesn’t fill up my love language tank. What floats my boat is spending a wonderful time with those I love most.
As I reflect on birthdays past, that’s exactly what I’ve been given for every birthday I’ve celebrated – blessings in the way of family gathered around me. Until I passed my 9th birthday, I not only had my parents and sisters in my life but also my maternal grandparents.
Eventually, brothers-in-law were added to the family and then baby nieces and a nephew were born. And God blessed me with a true love, a husband who has never, ever forgotten my birthday and makes me feel special and loved.
By the time our beloved three children came along, we didn’t live near our families, but my own little family made my birthdays memorable and so blessed. Add a vast assortment of friends to my birthday blessings and I realize how much joy I’ve been given over the years.
So now at this juncture of life, when I have been the recipient of so much, it’s way past time for me to commence identifying what I give back in return and how should I increase that measure.
What impact do I make on others’ lives? In what ways can I bestow joy to someone else? How can I encourage and lift up someone who’s heart is breaking, someone who faces the uncertain unknown, or someone who needs a faithful, listening friend?
Today in Chapter 6 (already!), Page 2 in my wonderful book entitled Opportunity, that’s what I’m contemplating – looking back at how far I’ve come, yet seeing how much farther I need to go to fulfill my purpose here in this world.
I have always been a person of good intentions, but too often have not followed through on them and that is something I need to change. When God plants a person’s name in my mind, I need to stop what I’m doing right then and pray for him or her. When He gives me an idea about how to bless another, I must ensure that idea comes to fruition.
Years ago, someone gave me a perpetual calendar with quotes and a Bible verse for each day of the year. For the last several years, the calendar occupied space on my workplace desk. As I turned the page to my birth date, the quote greeting me seemed appropriate for my special day:
“I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” ~ Attributed to Stephen Grellet, Quaker missionary
I want to make this my birthday prayer. Next year, Lord willing, on my birthday, I hope I can say that I’ve given many more blessings than I have received.