It’s that time of year again. No, it’s not Christmas; that was a month ago. No, it’s not election season, although that’s certainly coming up. The birds aren’t yet chirping, and the dormant flowers, trees and black bears have yet to waken from their long winter’s naps. No, to the rest of the world (or at least to 364/365ths of it) this date has little to no significance. But to me, well, it’s kind of a big deal.
That’s right. It’s my birthday.
Birthdays are funny little critters, aren’t they? It seems a bit odd that we celebrate the day that our mothers experienced the 2nd greatest pain known to humankind (2nd only to being burned alive. Yikes). Instead of making this day all about us, we actually should spend it in humble service and lavish gratitude to our mothers. But I guess that’s why we have Mother’s Day.
Side Note: Here I would like to take a moment to specifically thank my mother. She gave birth to me a) 4 weeks early, b) in a foreign country with no close relatives except my dad there (why? See reason “a”) and c) at an Army hospital without an epidural or any sort of pain medication—despite being told that she would be medicated. Apparently, the Army couldn’t administer it because the doctor was on call—not for the hospital but for World War III, in case it happened to begin. Eek. Anyway, thanks, Mama! I love you!
Okay, back to birthdays.
Whether or not it makes cultural, biological or metaphysical sense, birthdays are something we like to celebrate. And I suppose we do so with good reason. After all, the arrival of a birthday means a lot: We’ve survived another year. Yay! Yippee! Woohoo! Woot woot! Not only are we 365 days older, but (hopefully) we’re also a tad bit wiser…. Or at least better at pretending to be. Haha 🙂
Speaking of wisdom, I’m not exactly the wisest owl in the parliament (that’s the technical name for a group of owls. Cool, huh?) However, since it is my birthday and because you are apparently a captive audience, I would like to take a moment to share some tidbits I’ve gleaned from this most recent year of my life.
Conveniently, there happen to be 23 of them. (Coincidence? I think not.) So here they are, in a somewhat particular order.
1. Always set at least two alarms to wake up in the morning, especially if you’re only getting 6 hours of sleep. If your body needs the rest, it will make every effort to steal it, regardless of your schedule.
2. (See #1) Needing caffeine is not a sign of weakness, just of knowing your own limitations. Especially if you have Mexican History class from 3:15-4:45 in the afternoon. Me cansa.
3. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but a lack of showering does not necessarily signify a spiritual deficiency.
4. Frisbees and foreheads don’t mix well, particularly if the latter is careening through the air at breakneck speeds. (Note: the use of the adjective “breakneck” is figurative. I don’t think Frisbees could actually break one’s neck. At least, I hope not.)
5. Dog poo and pants don’t mix.
6. Words are powerful. So use them wisely.
7. God does some of His most beautiful work after the ugliest tragedies. Generally in the world and specifically in our lives.
8. Don’t sleep with your contacts in. Especially if you only wear one. (i.e. a single bloodshot eye looks really awkward.)
9. Real life isn’t found by the wall but on the dance floor. So get out there!
10. It’s okay to cry. So don’t be afraid to.
11. When praying for God to give you a sense of humor, choose an opportune moment. i.e. NOT directly before plunging a toilet.
12. Sometimes the greatest gifts come in the smallest packages… or envelopes.
13. Being busy is never an excuse for not being loving.
14. If there’s a zombie-dino apocalypse and you’re on a boat, you’re dead. (#nerdwisdom. Miss you, Trey!)
15. Forgiveness feels amazing.
16. Always wear two pairs of plastic gloves when scrubbing commercial kitchen drains. And don’t scrub the one under the industrial-strength dishwasher when it is on.
17. The best cure for feeling down is to build someone else up.
18. The GRE is like a Metallica concert. Best only experienced once. And with earplugs.
19. Life is fragile and precious. Treasure it; cherish it. Love it.
20. If you’re gluten intolerant, you probably shouldn’t eat it. Unless it’s your grandmother’s chocolate cake (thank you, Omi!). Or Giordano’s pizza.
21. Friends are a blessing straight from God. They see your soul and love you—not just anyway, but because of it.
22. You can’t control your life. So quit trying. Instead let God do His job. He’s a pro.
23. I love Jesus.
Although the first 22 lessons are all important and true, this last one is by far the most important and truest. I really, really, really love Jesus. I can’t say it enough, and I can’t make it any clearer. But for the sake of this post, I am going to give it the ol’ post-college try.
I was incredibly blessed to grow up in a Christian home. My parents love the Lord, and they taught me from a very young age about Jesus. As a child, I trusted Him as my Savior, and I’ve had a relationship with Him ever since. However, it wasn’t until this last year—year 23—that I truly fell in love with Jesus. So this recap would be incomplete if I didn’t tell you how much He means to me.
You see, all my life I’ve known about Him. I’ve known that He loves me. And I’ve known that I love Him. But at some point in the last year, that love became undeniably and unexpectedly and overwhelmingly real to me. And not only have I started to understand His love, but I have also began to love Him back in a way I would have never thought possible.
So now, here on my 23rd birthday and embarking on my next year of life, I want to say this: I love Jesus. He is my Everything. I love Him more than this post and my words could ever say. He’s the reason I get up in the morning. He’s the joy behind my smile. He’s the hope behind my tears. He’s the beat to which I dance. He’s the song I sing. He’s the love I give to others. He’s my life and my breath and the blood flowing through my veins. He’s the Sun my life revolves around, and without Him, my life would mean nothing. Even if I were to lose everything tomorrow, and if all I hold dear were taken from me, this truth would still remain: I love Him, I love Him, I love Him.
I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and I can’t predict the future. 23 may be the best year yet or the hardest I’ve ever experienced. But that’s okay, and I’ll be fine either way. Because I love Jesus. And not only do I love Him, but I want to live for Him. In everything I do. May Your name be lifted high, and may You be glorified.
And so for the rest of my days—be they many or few—here I am, Jesus. I am living for you. I thank You; I praise You; I trust You. And above all else, Jesus, I love You.
To You be all the glory and honor and praise.