My birthday came and went almost two months ago. Last year, in honour of my birthday and in the most awesome experience of my life, God walked me right up to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and back down. About a month after that experience and on my actual birthday, after a day spent working, A and B took me out to dinner then we had cake. This year for my birthday, God gave me the gift of sight (more on that in my next post). Then on my actual birthday, I ate black forest cake.
I actually intended to spend my birthday weekend attending a Joyce Meyer conference in Phoenix, Arizona, but the cost was a bit much for me (the conference is free but airfare from Jamaica was ridiculous, then I would have to add in accommodation, Uber around the city, and a visit to the Grand Canyon, because how could I be in Arizona and not go there?). I just couldn’t find peace about spending that much money for a two-day conference when I was still unemployed, so I decided that it wasn’t the right time for me to go, despite the deep desire I’ve had for about three years now to attend one of her conferences.
At first, I loathed the idea of being in Jamaica for my birthday. I saw it as whatever would be the opposite of a birthday present. But there was nowhere else for me to justifiably go so I accepted it and got peaceful about it. I thought back over previous birthdays. My family is not big on celebrating them and, up until about 3 years ago, I thought I also wasn’t, but that was a lie I was telling myself. I love my birthday and I always want to celebrate it. It’s not about getting presents or people telling me how great I am – I can do without those things; in fact, I already do without those things. It’s about me celebrating the start of a new year of my life: a year in which God will bless me; a year in which I will experience some difficulties through which He will teach me some things; a year in which I will have a whole bunch of new and exciting experiences; a year of highs of which I can’t possibly conceive right now; a year in which I will have countless opportunities to serve God. It will be 365 days of His renewed grace and mercy. It’s also about me celebrating making it through the last year of my life, with its challenges and its triumphs; a year in which God blessed me with amazing experiences, comforted me through difficulties, and took me further down the path that He’s laid out for my life. I believe all of that deserves a celebration.
However, I don’t want to celebrate in the typical way by having a party. I’m truly not a party girl, and the one time someone threw a birthday party for me, I enjoyed it but I also felt very awkward for the entire time. I would rather not repeat that experience, so I decided to spend my birthday dreaming about how my birthday should unfold going forward.
So on my birthday, after going to the gym, doing laundry and washing my hair, I sat down to dream. Happily, my birthday dreaming lead me to exactly what I wanted: a decision on how to observe my birthday going forward, since it’s my responsibility and no-one else’s to ensure that I spend it as I want. It’s pretty simple, really, and perhaps not at all surprising if you know anything at all about me. Going forward, God’s willing, I will be spending my actual birthday doing something I’ve never done before or going some place I’ve never been before, both preferably something or some place that’s close to nature. I see my birthday as being all about triumphs and possibilities, and what better way to celebrate that than to dive headfirst into the unknown? So that’s what I will be doing from here on out.
After making that decision, I spent the rest of my birthday peacefully writing, watching movies and slowly eating the slice of black forest cake I had bought from my favourite dessert place. It wasn’t the birthday of my dreams, but now that I have a dream, I know what I’m aiming for.