I found a $20 dollar bill in the pocket of my winter coat this morning. I thanked God for the unexpected birthday gift since I woke up with a rancid stomach and a cloudy head. Usually, birthdays, at least for me, bring a sense of invigoration, a chance to revive old dreams and to create new goals.
Instead, this year I felt similarly to Samatha Baker from the movie 16 Candles; only instead of friends or family forgetting my birthday, I wanted to forget my birthday. Just let the day pass as quickly as daylight during this time of year. I even cried a little last night, wanting to sink into my mattress for the impending 24 hours. Thankfully, I was able to connect with a dear friend after church, have a delectable Brazilian steak dinner with my father and then cake with family. Gradually I found myself smiling more and more throughout the day.
It’s incredible that I’m double 16 (some folks I come across say I can still pass for 16). And for that, I should be grateful. This is why the initial apathy I had about my birthday was concerning. I mean, I just moved into my first solo apartment! I have a stable job. Health insurance. Decent health. A loving family. Friends.
I asked myself; “what is going on with me?” Despite having what I desired for years after I graduated from college (career, own place), I found myself disturbingly discontent. Lonely. Depressed. Barely able to get out of bed in the morning. And this is after I went through an intense form of Cognitive therapy procedure. I kept thinking I was supposed to be “cured” of these issues. That as the “brand new” Leah, I conquered the insecurities, fears, and trepidations of my former self. The dreams I had long smothered would magically revive into manifestation.
Instead, for the past two months, I’ve felt like I missed a mark. That the direction I took was a derailment, a wrong turn and now I’m lost even though everything seems like I’m driving in the right direction.
Then there’s the passage of time. Relatives growing older. The inevitable transitions. Hearing about sickness, aches, and pain during conversations. Wishing that there was infinite time to be with loved ones yet knowing that’s not reality.
Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes tells us there’s a time for everything; to be born and die, plant and uproot, tear down and build, weep and laugh, to search and give up (Vv. 1-8). I think my issue is that I’m not sure what time God has me in. Maybe that’s what’s bothering me. I feel jumbled in unfamiliar seasons.
As another birthday concludes, where I find an appropriate stopping point for this blog post and work up the courage to face tomorrow, the answer always circles back to God’s word. I’m shameful to admit that through this haze, I haven’t been connecting with God like I should. He can’t work in me if I shut and lock Him out. He’s always standing, waiting patiently for me to answer. Its up to me to open the door. To invite Him in. For Him to show me the plans He predestined for me.
Besides, our Lord loves s good celebration. And I can wager He’s the most excited to celebrate year 32 right beside me. Wrapping me in in His love as we blow out the birthday candles.