I recently celebrated my 27th year of being alive, and I must say it was probably one of the best birthdays I ever had. I recall when 10 years ago, I didn’t even have any friends to celebrate with, and I was actually at home by myself suffering from a suspension from school. It was quite pathetic, and an unfortunate way to “celebrate” anything.
As the years progressed, I started having more and more people involved with my life, and while I was thankful for that, the depth was beginning to decrease as well. I remember there was one birthday party where I had invited over 180 people (what the freak was I thinking?) and although it was a wonderfully crazy time of people just having fun together and I felt thankful that these people even took the time to visit me on my birthday, I had a moment when I looked around the room and realized that only a handful of these people were really people who I had a thriving relationship with. It was strange, because even though I was surrounded by so many great people, I still felt lonely and hungry to live with people.
For my most recent birthday, I was on the brink of not having any sort of gathering at all. I would have been okay with just being by myself, just like that girl I was 10 years ago. This past year had been difficult in regards to my closest relationships, and I definitely had some fall-outs that affected me deeply. But I decided to bite the bullet and have a small dinner of girls who had made a significant impact in my life within the past year, and it was the best group of people I could have spent any birthday with.
And then the love started pouring in. When I stopped trying to just get people together for the sake of making myself feel better or making some sort of statement that I was not miserable and in fact was embracing my “popularity,” little by little people started surprising me. I received meaningful emails from friends I hadn’t seen and hung out with in years, new friends in my life made me delicious cakes and cupcakes, I got to spend quality time with amazing souls through birthday lunches/dinners, and I got to witness what it really meant to celebrate someone, and to truly show thanks that they were alive. My mother even wrote me a card in ENGLISH which took her nearly two days to rack her brain over a translation dictionary for. It really taught me how sacred a birthday really is, and how I want to celebrate others’ birthdays from now on too.
Love is seriously SUCH a humbling gift. I can’t believe to this day how many people love on me when I really feel like I don’t deserve it at times. It strikes me in my heart when I converse with people who don’t think they have any friends, who think no one cares enough about them, or even think that God purposely wants them to be alone. But with that, it’s so easy to fall into self-pity while playing the “loner-victim” card. I feel like I was in this stage for the longest time, and then I transitioned into the surrender stage, where I willingly relinquished control over my relationships and threw it up to God, saying within my heart that these relationships are not mine to hold tightly, but I need to allow them to grow, die, or even re-birth in their own organic way. And I started praying specifically for the friendships I struggled with, and became less entitled to them too. As I became more reliant on trusting God that He would bring friends and mentors who would not only edify me, but prosper with me, love came in at opportune times, and it also broke me at unfortunate times.
It’s interesting that when I was younger, it mattered so much to me that many people knew my name. But now as I’m thanking God for another year where I’m older and wiser, I just desire for people to know my story.