Birthdays are a special gift in and of themselves. There is something breathtaking about making it to another milestone even when the road there may have been a bit rough. It’s one of those days when the greetings prove that you are never really alone. There is more love in your life than you may ever imagine. Birthdays are a time when you realize that you are probably a great deal tougher than you may have thought, especially when you get into the higher numbers that indicate that you are one of the senior members of society.
I must admit that the events of this past year have been devastating at times. I have been so saddened by the amount of evil that exists in the world and I really do worry about how it will ultimately affect my grandchildren. My birthday was an opportunity to put things into perspective. Sure there were more terrorist attacks and I watched a Frontline production that was as frightening as anything that I have ever seen but the sun came out and the world kept moving forward. Besides, I learned that Mickey and Minnie Mouse share the same birthday as mine.
This may seem to be a trivial factoid but in my mind it was a sign that good has a way of overcoming even monsters. Mickey first premiered on the big screen in movie houses on November 18, 1928. Think about that. Shortly after he was formally introduced to the world there was a global depression unlike anything that the world had seen. Still he survived. Not much later virtually every country in the world engaged in a war that brought death and destruction that threatened society, not to mention ushering in the barbaric inhumanity of the concentration camps. Nonetheless, Mickey was still there. An iron curtain descended over most of eastern Europe and would last until the end of the century but Mickey kept on making us laugh with his antics. Neither wars nor natural disasters were able to hold the little mouse down. He just kept on tickling our fancies and making us smile even when it felt almost impossible to do so. Now at the age of 87 he is still one of the most iconic figures on planet Earth. He represents goodness and fun and innocence and all that makes us happy. He has managed to do that because when all is said and done, no matter how horrible things many seem to get we humans somehow manage to be victorious over the people and the events that would bring us down. That is something wonderful to think about.
I also found myself being reminded once again how blessed and remarkable my life has been. I heard from family and friends who spanned my lifetime. There were “kids” from my high school days, neighbors, educators, students, cousins, daughters, grandsons, and people from every single phase of my life who brought back such wonderful memories of times that we have shared together and those that we will enjoy in the future. When you reach my age you totally understand what is really important and it isn’t wealth or titles or acquisitions. It is always people. In that regard I feel as though I am a millionaire many times over.
I spent my morning doing the mundane which was actually enchanting. I took my grandsons, Ben and Eli, to the orthodontist. We had enough time to talk about all of the things that were on their minds. Those moments are the most special of all. As I listened to them with their bright eyes and quick minds I thought of how wonderful God had been to send them into our family’s lives. Eating burgers and tacos and just feeling so happy together was as special as it gets.
Later in the day I spoke with a friend who only a week ago was in the depths of despair over a very serious injury that she had endured. Today she was like a different person. She was as beautiful as ever (which is movie start quality) and she was smiling and joking because much of her pain had gone away. I had been so worried about her and she had been one of the people at the top of my prayer list. To see God’s goodness in action was so gratifying. I realized that He is there for us when we need Him most.
I did a little shopping and purchased a set of Mickey and Minnie Mouse ornaments for my Christmas tree and brought home some dinner for my own very special “Mickey” who was feeling under the weather today but still did his best to make me smile. I finished with a long tutoring session with my granddaughter, Abby, who has a big test tomorrow. The problems were rather difficult for a sixth grader and there were so many of them. I think she got a little tired. I’ll have to put in a prayer to the big man that she maintains her composure tomorrow and doesn’t get rattled. She really does understand the material but who doesn’t have a few difficulties with percent increases and decreases and all those types of questions? It would be a special gift to me if she were to do well on that test.
I have no idea what is in store for me in the coming year but my birthday has proven to me that whatever it may be I will be able to share its joys and disappointments with the best dang people anyone has ever known. I frankly can’t imagine what I have done to deserve all of the love that was showered on me. I must be certain to repay the compliments to everyone throughout the coming year.
Yes, birthdays are wonderful. Each of them is a kind of reward for a job well done on the road of life. We stumble and fall and lose our way but our special day somehow gets us right back on track and assures us that all in all things are always going to work out just fine.
Thank you to everyone single person who took the time to wish me well. I cannot even begin to describe how wonderful your sentiments made me feel. I’m off and running into the next three hundred sixty five days. I hope that they will be as great as the last twenty four thousand, four hundred fifty five have been. Mickey, Minnie and I can’t wait to celebrate again when November 18, rolls back around just as it always does. In between I’m counting on spending time with all of you even if it’s only on Facebook.