My maternal grandmother used to sing in a slurred voice, “Happy birthday…to myself,” on her birthday as a joke. The story goes that grandmother was taking a trip, and her inebriated bus driver was singing this song because she said no one remembered her birthday. I know there are many problems with this story, the main one being the drunken bus driver.
However, the lesson I think Grandmother was trying to convey from the factual or fabled tale is that we should always celebrate ourselves and never rely on the praises of others.
Grandmother had many funny anecdotes to share. She was a class act, feisty, fearless, a strong personality who enjoyed making others laugh. For her generosity in gifts to countless charitable organizations (I know only because in her later years she tapped me to come to her home each month to write and mail checks to her church, her credit card companies, and her chosen charities), my grandmother had many friends who visited and called often, and some still share (as recently as last week) how much they loved and miss her.
Sure every day was not a laughing matter. She had her share of hardships:
- the loss of her only son early in life
- the loss of her one and only husband mid-life
- the loss of her agility and mobility due to arthritis in her final years.
Yet she never acted like a victim, and she left a beautiful legacy of strength despite any struggles.
As I observe the over 10,000 days of my life (I won’t do the actual math), I reflect on the legacy I hope to leave as well as the purpose of celebrating – every victory over victimhood.
Like Grandmother and other folks, I have cause to complain, but I’m no victim.
There have been friends who did not stand with me when I had fallen down. But I’m no victim.
There have been people I trusted who took advantage of me when I was vulnerable. But I’m no victim.
Ironically, I worked in a medical environment when I was at my sickest, and my employer could have cared less about my healthcare. And the list could go on.
But I’m no victim.
I am victorious!
After the worst seasons of life imaginable, amazing outcomes arise and there is always a reason to celebrate. For me:
My immediate family is closer than ever.
I learned the gift of forgiveness (because I’m forgiven).
New friends are like family to me.
And God’s Word continues to heal my heart, soul, and body with His Love.
Happy birthday to myself! (No slurring intended.)
Life is too fleeting and much better spent practicing gratitude for the blessings in life rather than reflecting over a litany of regrets and disappointments.
So I’ve dedicated some party music—my personal fight song—to those who are standing strong and regaining vibrancy after difficulty. The song is “I Got That” by Anthony Brown & group therapy.
You have to turn up and sing along (the words are in the video), for God has given us the victory through Jesus Christ, and the “victory” is a free gift, not exclusive to birthdays. All you have to do is take it.
Be encouraged, dear reader, and stay focused on God’s faithfulness. Forward-thinking is the best way to celebrate every day to the finish. 🎉
With love, really.