Lately I have been taken down by my inner critic. I harbor feelings of self-loathing. I wonder at times why I do what I do, and say what I say. The inner turmoil saps my energy.
In this space of feeling frustrated with myself, my birthday arrives yesterday. From the moment I get up in the morning, til I fall asleep at night, I am graced and lifted up by others. Some have known me for years, like old friends, and others for a few months. Some I have never met in person.
The birthday greetings come in person, by snail mail, email, voicemail, by "live" phone, by text, and most popular, by Facebook. Each sentiment gently flows over me, taking with it bits and pieces of my self-loathing. The greetings remind me to appreciate myself amidst my flaws and imperfections.
Being acknowledged for who I am, on the day celebrating my entry into this life, far surpasses any material gift I can receive. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who took the time to remind me, on my birthday, that I matter. And that self-appreciation is in order for all of us who believe we are part of God's creation.
In this "crazy" world of ours, amidst the "Left" talk and the "Right" talk, the Tea Baggers and the Tree Huggers, we are bigger than ideology. Birthdays help us connect at the heart level. Which is why my right winger brother sends his liberal sister a card on her birthday and calls her up.
Most of all, birthdays remind me to open my arms and receive. Last Sunday at church the homilist shared a scriptural quote that leaves me in awe:
Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.
- Luke 12:32
May I remember to open my arms and say "yes!"
[Photo Credit: Ariel da Silva Parreira]