Typically, when one has a birthday coming up there is a sense of excitement (unless you’re not too happy about the extra wrinkles). One looks forward to celebrating for a week, or two, or maybe even an entire month! That’s what my husband tries to do. He calls it his “birth month.” He’s quite a character. Cake, presents, family, and friends, are all things one looks forward to with anticipation. For me, this is the first time in years, I think I’m okay with having a birthday. 🙂
Dear reader, if you don’t want to read anything that might bring you down…skip this paragraph and go to the next one. 🙂 My birthday is the last day of February. In 2007 we had the “unexpected” happen four days before my birthday. My son was a passenger in a near fatal car accident and we were devastated. On my birthday everyone was praying for him to come out of a coma as a “birthday miracle.” You can read a little about it here: https://sarahsmilesat.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/a-parents-worst-nightmare-how-i-was-prepared-for-it/ The following years we were thankful he was still with us as my birthday rolled around. In 2010, just after my birthday he began having seizures and we were unsure again of what the future would hold. In 2011 my mom-in-law passed away two days before my birthday and on my b-day, we had the wake. She was in my life for 26 years and I loved her dearly. (I wrote about her here: https://sarahsmilesat.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/reflections-of-a-birthdayrejoicing-new-life-even-through-death/ ) I also found out that night that my uncle passed away. Talk about feelings of sadness. Later that year I succumbed to illness and by February 2012 I was sent to a specialist that had me off all medications for a series of tests. By my birthday, I was in such terrible shape that there was no celebrating. So when February rolled around last year…I was bracing myself for something terrible to happen. And it did, beginning with a phone call that Mamá (my grandmother who raised me) was in the hospital, an Alzheimer diagnosis, an emotional trip to move her, and ending with the termination of a friendship with someone whose selfishness hurt me deeply. So, as I end this list of downers, you might see why I’ve had some trepidation about my upcoming birthday.
A few weeks ago I had a co-worker call me Pollyanna and another agreed. Webster’s Dictionary defines Pollyanna as: “a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything.” That is the kind of person I always tried to be. I had a “not so great” upbringing and I had no choice but to try and find the good in things or, well, we won’t go there. And honestly, who wants to be sad all the time anyway, right? I do have to admit, however, these last few years have at times wiped the smile right off my face. I’ve even had days full of self-pity and began to think of myself as having a curse surrounding the day of my birth. When I was at my sickest though, I took comfort in the story of Job, because in the end, he was blessed even more than he had been before his trials. This is where I am today, feeling blessed.
As I pray to God, I have much to be thankful to Him for. My son made it through months of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. He finished high school and went on to college. And this past December he earned his Baccalaureate degree in Kinesiology. Our family is VERY thankful. And a few months ago, my husband who had a very difficult time with my mom-in-law’s death, experienced some healing from that loss. In a church service as the pastor talked about Jesus being with the Father and how death is not the end for believers, my husband actually began to cry. He’d had an “aha” of moment of realizing that Mama Beca is also with the Father. There is a hope for the believer. 🙂 And my illness? It is in check for now and I feel great! I go dancing every chance I get and enjoy it as much as possible knowing I may not always be able to do it. As far as the lost friendship goes. I have forgiven her. And I have been blessed with new friendships! In fact, they are helping me to look forward to my birthday.
Stuff happens. That’s just part of life. It is part of the human experience to have things go wrong. And we can either let those things wipe the smile from our faces permanently or remember that the sun always comes out after the rain. There are going to be clouds, there are going to be storms, but there’s some sunshine later and sometimes even a rainbow. And sometimes… there’s birthday cake at the end of that rainbow. 😉
My son at his commencement ceremony in December.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5