On February 11, 2017, I celebrated my 28th birthday. I know I only look 21, but the truth is I’m now 28 years old. As per usual, I received a phone call early in the morning from my grandmother wishing me a Happy Birthday as I did her just three days prior. It’s easy to remember her day, as we’re exactly 50 years apart and within 3 days. As I got out of bed, I received phone calls from my mother and father, my uncle, my aunt and cousin. It’s almost like clockwork each year that I hear from them with their own unique Birthday wish. In addition to that, I started receiving text messages from friends and loved ones close and far even some abroad wishing Happy Birthday in their own local time zone. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, were buzzing all day long with notifications of individuals taking time out to wish me a good day on Feb 11th.
As the day progressed, I went to go workout which is my daily ritual anyhow and noticed that the notifications were still coming through; and phone calls, and memes and e-cards, and e-mails. It was becoming almost overwhelming as it was draining my battery. As I traveled home to prepare for brunch with a few friends, I rushed my phone to the ‘fast charge’ so I could make sure I had battery throughout the day. Trying to find a way to silence the notifications so I could simply have a functioning phone throughout the day. And then, it was at this moment that I recalled a situation that happened at church a few months prior:
On the Sunday’s our Young Adult Choir, Psalms of David, doesn’t sing I typically attend one of the earlier services 715 or 9am to be exact. On the first Sunday of each month, our church: Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, recognizes those that have Birthdays in that month. And sometimes even gives out gifts to those that are born on that day. Being part of the choir, we’re accustomed to standing and singing a corporate “Happy Birthday to You” almost carelessly before the congregation during this time each first Sunday. But this time, I was participating in worship from the pews.
On this particular Sunday, an older lady came down the row I was on and asked if anyone was sitting in the seat next to me, I replied “No” and she took her seat. We exchanged some pleasantries before the service started and she mentioned that she wouldn’t be here long. Me being curious I asked, “why so…” She said, “Well, I attended the 7:15AM service but I arrived too late to be recognized for my birthday so I’m here at the 9am service so I can hear the church sing Happy Birthday to me. You see, when you get my age, you don’t really get to have people sing Happy Birthday to you like in your younger days….”.
At this moment, I realized that I had taken hundreds of Happy Birthday wishes on my own day for granted. I recognized that there was a blessing in each call, text, or post on social media. I realized that it’s a blessing to be alive year after year, and have loved ones around you willing to take time out to wish you another year of life. Something as simple as “Well, Happy Birthday,” is a proclamation of prosperity and joy in anyone’s life. Not to mention, it’s a reminder that each day is not promised and to be able to HEAR someone say Happy Birthday on this side of the grave is a gift of grace in and of itself!
So, with that being said, I have to express EXTREME gratitude to those that took ANY time to wish me a good day. And likewise, pray that we don’t get too busy or wrapped up to speak well wishes into anyone’s life. How could I forget that I’ve lost many friends and family young in life and expect people to ALWAYS be around. How could I be so worried about my phone battery, and not the outpouring of love that I was receiving. It was truly a humbling moment because NO ONE had to speak to me, NO ONE had to wish me a Happy Birthday. And beyond that, most of the things I have in life I don’t truly deserve. Moreover, there are those in our lives that we can’t take for granted. Take the time to recognize and honor those around you even if you don’t personally know them. You never know how a simple “Happy Birthday” could brighten someone on a day when just like my fellow pew-member felt completely unnoticed.
With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,
Trent J ACEO