August 4th (My Birthday)

It’s almost impossible for me to believe that I’m sitting here writing this blog about the gift of life that was given to me thirty years ago. My thoughts traces back to one regretful day in my past when I told my mother I wish I had died at birth. I wish I’ve never been there to cause her so much tragedy and tears and shame.

Oh what a mother she was who said, “even if I had known the choices you would make in life, I would never have passed the honor to become your mother”. 

She said she never even bother to care what my name meant when she chose it for me. She was just listening to RSG the morning I was born and they mentioned the name, and she thought it was such a beautiful word. And so I never bother to care what it means, because its beautiful to my mother. That is enough.I suppose mothers do have the gift of making your name sound “holier than thou”. The way she said my name, with such comfort and authority, makes me cringe when I think of all the times when the calling of my name tried to save me from something disastrous.

I cringe at how much I’ve hurt her

At times I’ve been so embarrassed about where I came from- my past; the things I did; the people I’ve hurt, but mostly, for not having anything to show for my life. For not having participated in life for so long. It always hurts to know how much you’ve taken from life, and you know you’ll never be able to give that back.

Birthdays are those wonderful reminders of what has happened in your life; what you have done and what you have given yourself to over the last year. And for years, all I could think of was the things I gave myself to that never added value to anyone’s life. For years I believed August 4th, 1984 was a wasted day in history; that before I turn 50 there will be nothing more left of my life than a poorly printed funeral program with “In Loving Memory Of” on the front and “Amazing Grace” at the back.

Birthdays has always been such uncontrolled sad and depressing days, where I just wanted to be left alone.

It’s the one day I felt I had every reason to hate the world.

BUT ALL OF THAT CHANGED LAST NIGHT.

Last night I was made to believe that my life matters; that my life will NEVER be a sad story again; that a birthday will never be depressing again.

Last night I was reminded that I’m loved; that I’m worth more than I could ever imagine.

I was made to believe that my life has deeper meaning and carries a greater purpose, and that birthdays are actually a reminder that life is precious and meant to live to the fullest.

I’ve never made anything about my birthdays but last night was so unbelievably special. I had 30 cakes (big and small, including a gigantic ice-cream cake) for every year that I’ve never had a birthday party. I had friends (more than I could I ask for) who brought gifts and wrote messages that all said something like “value”, “appreciate”, “grow”, “special”, “blessed”.

It almost felt a little overwhelming.

I was given the Scripture in Joel 2:25-26 that talks about “restoring” and “plenty” and “never again”. I took it as solemn promises from God reminding me that the tables have turned. I’m allowed to embrace and enjoy celebrating the day I was born.

God has done an absolutely marvelous work in my life the last 8 years after prison, and I cannot think of any reason why I deserve to be loved by the people in my life, but it feels AMAZING.

I don’t know what the next thirty years holds for me but I’m excited about it.

I look forward to it.

I can’t wait for my next birthday.

I AM GOING TO EMBRACE IT.

Thank you to every person who continues to believe in me; pray for me; accept me and love me.

Thank you to those whom I’ve supported and whose conversations with me has often started with “if it wasn’t for your input in my life…”

Thank you so much all of you.

To the next thirty years of my life.

Peace to you.

 

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