There’s something about a birthday that turns some people absolutely mad. People make elaborate plans all throughout the week (expecting every person to attend all three or four events), spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, and of course take pictures – lots of them. I always told people that I never had a good birthday in my latter years. The only birthday I truly remembered and was celebrated elaborately was my fourth birthday.
I’ll never forget my fourth birthday. We lived in a apartment complex, full of mostly single mothers and their kids. So like other families, we were barely making ends meet. However, summer was our favorite time. Everyone who lived in the complex would gather together with food and drinks and meet at the pool. My mom would let us swim all day.
My birthday, some years, falls on the first day of summer. That particular day was very hot. Everyone was having a blast. Little by little I noticed all my friends leaving with their parents. Then my mom and my sisters and brother left too! I was so upset! I was left alone in the pool with an older teenage girl who was charged to look after me. Like the brat I was, I pouted and pleaded to go inside my house. I saw everyone dressed up walking in with gifts. Me being so young, I didn’t realize what was actually happening. I was so worried about not being apart of it that I missed the joy and excitement of what was happening.
Soon, I was summoned inside. There my hair was combed and I received a new outfit to adorn me for that special day. I had fun and I got the gift that I had asked for. I remember going to sleep carefree. I had a good birthday. It was my day.
When I entered in elementary and middle school I began to read those cheesy teeny booper magazines. They always listed a popular celebs birthday any somehow my sisters and friends would match with them. Every week I’d look forward to see what famous meaningful person shared my birthday. It never happened.
As time went on, I became obsessed. I constantly searched the web and all that came up consistently was Prince William. Seriously? Prince William? My friends match with Britney Soears and Aaron Carter and I get Prince William?!! I was upset again.
So every now and then I’d search, but still my birthday twin in all his ginger glory remained king of June 21st.
So there you have it, my birthday June 21st 1989. A day I questioned, sure some people regretted, a day I felt in vain, a day that caused pain – Ultimately, a day God ordained. We have a day we are born into this earth that we celebrate. But, we also have seasons where we have another birthday. A spiritual birthday, where we don’t count maturity by the number of years but by the quality of the change and growth spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. See, sometimes, we become like that four year old girl in the pool. Wanting to join in the party when God has pulled us apart. We are watching everyone else with their gifts enter in, but we are locked out. All the while, not even realizing that we are on the edge of celebrating one of our best days.
I realize in this moment, that each time I went through something difficult, I reemerged as a new being. I’ve had so many spiritual birthdays that I can’t even count. So here’s to many more birthdays. Birthdays that shove me in Jesus’s face, trip me into the Father’s arms and excel me into purpose.
*And, I’m proud to say that today it’s me Prince William, Jussie Smolette, and Lana Del Rey.*