It looked like an ordinary day for me to the casual observer, but I knew it wasn’t. I went about my work and my routine as usual so no one would suspect. I knew the truth about today. Not many did however. How could they? I told no one. I never did. And so my day passed quietly, without fanfare. And I told myself that was my preference.
It hadn’t always been this way. Back when those to whom my arrival into this world was a wonderful, monumental, noteworthy event were living, my birthday was also all of those things to them and so to me as well by extension. But those who truly rejoiced at my birth and know my story are no longer here. I feel their absence keenly on days such as my special day. And I understand, because that’s the way I feel about the birthdays of my own children. Their birthdays are the monumental markers of my own life.
What’s surprising as well as slightly disconcerting, is the amount of personal birthday greetings I receive in the mail from the most impersonal of senders. Seems like everyone is aware of my birthday except my own children. Even google had dancing birthday candles on cake on my computer screen that day. Google knows my birthday? Well, okay, it’s a given that google knows all, however creepy that might be. (didn’t they used to call that Big Brother and be worried about it?) The upside to having a google birthday cake like this, is that it is definitely lo-cal, however lacking in taste and texture it might be.
I received birthday greetings from my car dealer, bank, insurance company and assorted other places of business. They all seemed genuinely happy about my birthday and sincerely wished me well. Of course, for the most part, there are no names or faces associated with these well meaning well wishers. They do not know me.
And I long to be known. Known not as a number but as myself. Especially not a number. Whoever said “age is just a number”? I’d like to have a chat with them. Did they live in this culture and how old were they when they said that? I would like to know these things.
So google knows me, it would appear? But does caring about me come with that knowing about me? Does googles’ knowledge of me equal care, compassion or concern for me? I have my doubts.
Then these words came to mind from Psalm 139; “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”
“The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.” (Psalm 145:9)
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of Your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:29-31)
So, google may know my number and my birthday but was it there when I was created? I don’t think so. Does it have compassion on me like my Heavenly Father does? I think not. Does google rejoice over me with singing? (Zephaniah 3:17) (does google have a voice? okay, I know Alexa does but she doesn’t know me any better than google does and she didn’t remember my birthday) Is my name engraved on the palms of googles’ hands? (Isaiah 49:16) (google doesn’t even have hands)
In this world where the impersonal masquerades as personal, (hence all my birthday cards from businesses and organizations) I long for the truly personal. I find it with my Heavenly Father, who knows me best of all.
“O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord.” (Psalm 139:1-4)
My Heavenly Father celebrates each and every one of my birthdays and He celebrates each and every one of yours as well. Parents always celebrate the birthdays of their children.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
sincerely, Grace Day
3 thoughts on “the impersonal imitates the personal”
Happy birthday! Is today the day?
Birthdays are so important. On our birthdays we celebrate being alive. On our birthdays people can say to us, “Thank you for being!” Birthday presents are signs of our families’ and friends’ joy that we are part of their lives. Little children often look forward to their birthdays for months. Their birthdays are their big days, when they are the center of attention and all their friends come to celebrate.
We should never forget our birthdays or the birthdays of those who are close to us. Birthdays keep us childlike. They remind us that what is important is not what we do or accomplish, not what we have or who we know, but that we are, here and now. On birthdays let us be grateful for the gift of life.
Thank you for being!
This gave me a new outlook on birthdays. I’m not one who remembers, or even tries to remember everyone’s birthday. (Even neices and nephews) I do however, try to be here everyday they may need me. Birthdays are probably more special than I know,
This really touched my heart, Barb. We “orphans” know that birthdays feel a little less celebrated without our earthly parents. I miss the morning birthday calls from my mom. Seems like she was just holding herself back from celebrating me on the days leading up to my birthday as she always was one of the first calls I got the morning of my birthday! Thank you for turning my eyes to my Father in Heaven. This year on my birthday, I will be especially attentive to hearing His call first thing in the morning. ❤️