Birthdays can be weird. Well I can feel weird about celebrating my birthday. All kinds of unexpected emotions can come to the forefront on this day for me. Things that I can’t quite place my finger on or fully understand. Funny how that can happen. In all other respects the day of ones birth is a regular day for everyone else.
Birthdays were magic when I was a kid. It was a day or even a few days of food, fun and gifts. Classroom parties with cupcakes and a family dinner of my choosing. One year I wanted to be “fancy” and asked to go to McDonalds for dinner. I was also five or six at the time. They required no effort on my part for people to acknowledge it. It was just a great day of people wishing me a happy birthday. I felt cared for and loved.
As an adult though, it has lost some of its magic. It has become an obligatory thing with Facebook notifications telling me when it’s someone’s birthday. These notifications have become so routine that it can be easy to scroll past them. It feels forced, this reminder of someones birthday as can the response to it. At least from me it does.
Birthdays have made me selfish. As a teenager I wanted more of everything, more attention, more fun and food. I wanted the biggest bouquet of balloons to walk obnoxiously through the school hallways. Remember when those balloons were the thing? Are those still something highschoolers do?
As an adult part of the magic is gone because I am the one who has to plan it. Which feeds into my people pleasing aspect of myself. Will people want to come? Will my invite be ignored? I worry if people will have a good time. I have found too that some years I want to tell everyone its my birthday. Other years I welcome my close friends and family wishing a happy birthday but really don’t desire the attention from so many people at the same time.
Neither are wrong or right. The key to having a magical birthday as an adult is to let go and allow the day to unfold as it will. Enjoy the well wishes from friends and family. Celebrate however you see fit, because this is the day of your birth ( along with a few thousand others). This year I did a little of both, allowing the day to be what it was. It was a series of good times with my amazing family and friends. For this I am grateful and my heart is full.
Mother’s day is coming up next week. It can be a day wrought with emotions and tough to get through. Whether it is a longing to be a mother or missing yours. Or a mother missing her children. Perhaps the pain of hoping and trying for children, only to continue waiting.It can become a day to avoid attending church or engaging with people. It can be too much, too hard.
Know that God sees you and loves you in this. That he too grieves for what you grieve. Some years I feel the loss of my mother more and others not as much. This holiday was created to honor our mothers. All kinds of mothers, from those who gave birth, those who raised and loved on us. The women who have invested in our lives. It is about stopping to take a moment to acknowledge these women is important.
If it hurts too much because of loss or loss of hope it is ok. Take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to get through the day. No matter what that looks like for you. Whether it is being with your church family or friends. Or holing up in the house with your favorite people or even Netflix. You will get through this day. I can’t promise that this will dull the ache you feel, at least not right away.
In this hardship, God is with you. May you be comforted by him, know that you are being loved through this by Him and those in your life.
For those of you who get to celebrate the day with family, enjoy your time together. Eat well and laugh together, creating memories is not about planning something ahead but enjoying the moment. These times in our lives to simply be with the ones we love are fleeting.
Beyond any gifts that can be given, ones time is certainly priceless.
Next Sunday is Valentine’s Day. This is not the typical singleton view point on this day. I’ve treaded down that road before. This year I have a different perspective.
I’ve come to see it less as an attack on single people.[Tweet “I’ve come to see it less as an attack on single people.”] And more so a day where many of my lovely friends get to celebrate their relationships. As they should. Any time to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the everyday is a good thing. For a couple to stop and spend time together is important.
It is not an indictment against singles. That somehow by not being in a romantic relationship to celebrate, we are less than. This is an absolute lie. This is a lie I once believed. Feeling embittered as each year passed and still single. The wondering of when or if that would change. Then never having anything changed.
We have plenty to celebrate. Not just on Valentine’s Day but every day.
We too have special people in our lives. People who have poured into our lives. Loving us when it was not easy. People we have loved well and cared for in turn.
When was the last time you told someone how much they mean to you?
Celebrate that. Celebrate that love is far bigger than the a narrow definition. Celebrate that you are loved. Celebrate the immense, complicated,messiness of real love.
Remember this as you attend services and the sermon focuses on marriage and love. Remember as you feel that tinge of loneliness seeing couples around you. Remember you are loved greater than anything you could imagine. Because you know Christ.
I’ve been in that jealous place, of longing for a relationship. Believing it was the missing piece for my life. The truth though is that only Christ makes me whole. While I still long for marriage some day, it’s not my only hope. I’ve come to terms that perhaps it might not be the plan for me.
This post is where I’m at right now. In this moment. I cling to the truth that I am loved, by God, by my brothers and sisters in Christ, by my family. There is so much love in my life.
Not acknowledging it, by saying that this other kind of love is somehow better, I’m essentially spitting in the face of the love in my life.
That, my single friends is the biggest truth of all. You are loved ,we are loved, I am loved. [Tweet “That, my single friends is the biggest truth of all. You are loved ,we are loved, I am loved. “]