THE GIFT OF ANOTHER BIRTHDAY

Well, another birthday has arrived.   They are starting to pile up. I was a St. Patrick’s Day baby. I made me entrance into the world sixty-four years ago!  Ah, sixty-four. That is a big number whether you say it fast or slow. It doesn’t seem possible. From one birthday to the next seems to pass as fast as a ceiling fan on high. There is no need to seek to be a spring chicken when I can be a fine wine!! I try to think like the old English Proverb that states, “The older the fiddler, the sweeter the ahappy-birthday-to-me2tune!”

I have never thought much about birthdays; it is just another day. However, for a few years now it has been nice to get those discounts I used to wish I could get but now wish I wasn’t qualified to get!! Astronaut and Senator John Glenn once said, “There is no cure for the common birthday.” How right he is. As matter of fact, the mirror reminds me how right that statement really is! The passage of time can’t be stopped. Yet birthdays are a time for reflection, a time for contemplation.

Birthdays should remind us of the faithfulness and goodness of God. It is only because of His goodness to us that we are privileged to be where we are on our road in the journey of life. Grace has seen us this far and grace will see us home. The Lord has been most gracious to me. I am so thankful for good health and that I can still run, even though much, much slower than in years past. I am still able to do my annual birthday routine of running a minute for every year, which is 64 minutes this year.  I am most grateful,  because every run may be my last one.

Birthdays remind us of the fragileness of life and that life is truly a gift. Life is a precious gift that can be here one minute and gone the next. I became more keenly aware of the reality of the fragileness of life in June 2013 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Having 43 radiation treatments, like never before I learned to value and treasure each day as a gift. We should seek each day to be a blessing to others and bring sunshine, smiles and laughter into the life of those around us for we may not get another chance. Tell those close to you that you love them. You may not get another chance.

Birthdays remind us to be thankful for the music of laughter. As the years pile up we usually receive some good humor ribbing on our birthdays. Don’t forget the gift of laughter all the year through. Can you think of anything more melodious than the laughter of a friend or love one? Laughter is a gift from God, it is natural and innate. It is contagious. Each time we hear a child laugh we are reminded that as we grow older not to lose this precious gift the Lord has given us. Laughter is the medicine that gives to our lives that balance in body, soul and mind, which helps us face the turbulence of day to day living. I love to laugh and each time I hear it lingering in the air about me I realize what a precious gift it is.

Birthdays remind us that life is too short to waste and abuse. Too many people are wasting their talents and gifts and abusing the life the Lord has blessed them with. The Lord gave us all certain abilities and He expects us to use them to enrich the lives of others. Are we? If not we need to be. It is in enriching the lives of others that our own life is enriched. Abraham Lincoln said it well, “And in the end, it’s not the years in our life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Birthdays remind us that tears are a gift. One can’t can’t walk through this life without shedding a lot of tears.  Over the last sixty-four years tears have trickled down my cheeks over failures, disappointments, dreams that will never come true, the death of loved ones and friends, over happy times, sad times, and many other reasons. Tears mean that our heart was touched. One weeps much because they loved much. One who can weep feels deeper and senses deep within what is truly meaningful in life. Yes, even the pangs of regret can cause us to weep. But one who has no regrets has never attempted anything. Shed tears if you must. Don’t be ashamed to do so. Tears are a gift that reveals our heart can be moved and touched.

Birthdays remind us that this world is not our home we are just-a-passing-through. No matter how long our life may be we will not be on earth forever. George Bernard Shaw once said, “One out of one die.” Those odds are not in our favor! The Bible says we are pilgrims and strangers here below. While we have time we need to make preparation for the life beyond the here and now. How do we do that? We do that by faith in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ. He left eternity to inhabit time, that those bound by time might one day inhabit eternity. Thankfully, I took care of that eternal decision over forty years ago as a nineteen year old.

Ah, birthdays. I am grateful to be around for another year. On this my sixty-fourth birthday may I have the attitude of the poet who said, “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.”

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

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