I’m having an ironic birthday. Ironic in the sense that I was expecting this birthday to be a miserable one, but it turned out to be one of the best I’ve had in recent years.
It’s my first birthday without Papa, and yet, I feel closer to him now than before. Yesterday, I visited his crypt and allowed myself to freely express how much I miss him, how things are so different now that he’s been gone for six months (which is half a year, come to think of it), how I’d give anything to have him around, and at the same time, how grateful I am that he’s in a better place right now and no longer suffering like he did during my last birthday. I felt better after doing that. I left his crypt assured that he heard me, and that God, who witnessed everything, was moved by what He saw.
And so it turned out to be a happy birthday for me. My friends have been asking how the day has been, and I tell them it’s going fine so far. But the truth is, it’s more than fine. It’s been a great day. It’s great because when you think about it, it’s really the small things that make a birthday special. Like waking up to a warm greeting from your mom reminding you that you’re one of the best things that ever happened to her life. Or seeing all the greetings on your Facebook wall from people you haven’t heard from for ages. Or having a pre-birthday dinner with good friends who know you so well—dark side included– and so you actually believe them when they say that they value you as a person. Or watching a play with a good friend who knows exactly why that play resonates with who you are. Or being told by yet another set of friends that they’ve arranged a dinner for you sometime this week. Or getting text messages from people who know how to affirm you in a way that doesn’t make you cringe or doubt their sincerity. Or being serenaded over lunch with songs about love and its fulfillment in God’s time. Or being told by a stranger that you look ten years younger than your actual age. Or being able to go home early to go to the spa, hear mass and spend time at the blessed sacrament. Or hearing the gospel for the day and realizing that it speaks to you in personal way. Or learning upon going home that your sister brought home stuff from your new favorite restaurant. Or realizing that the greeting you got from your favorite person in the world was not exactly pro forma. (Haha. I obviously saved the best for last)
My favorite priest often reminds me that God writes straight in crooked lines. I think today is a testament to that. Because after every tragic thing I’ve been through the past years, here I am at 36, finally finally convinced that my cup of blessings overflows.
Thank you God. You are, indeed, a God of great things. And fortunately, of small things as well. 😉