Growing up as a son in my Dad’s house in Ilorin, Nigeria, birthdays were usually not a special day. I resented having to work on the farm on my birthday. The very few times I had a birthday celebration (the only birthday party I remember was my tenth birthday), I also did not like the spike in excitement for a few hours of birthday celebrations, after which life returned to ‘normal’.
Now, I realize the lesson my Dad was trying to pass on to us: birthdays should be like any other day. You should work, be of service and relax everyday of your life so why should your birthday be different? Your life should be about being a blessing so why should that stop on your birthday? Why should I seek to receive rather than be a blessing on my birthday? I believe he was also trying to let us realize that the world should not come to a stop because it’s your birthday. I am glad for my upbringing, which made me realize recently, that life is about service and contribution and birthdays should be no different, if not more so.
My personality is also such that I like to rejoice everyday, and do not want to limit celebration of life to once a year or a few times a year. My ideal way to celebrate life is to do what I was born to do. The compass for my life also says, “Rejoice always, and again I say to you, Rejoice.” That should be a 24/7 thing. 24/7, I should joyfully spend time being a blessing and not expecting blessings. I was excited when I realized I could celebrate my 24/7 birth 24/7 by being a blessing and living 24/7.
Yesterday was just another Saturday. I woke up very early, spent the early hours in meditation, prayer and writing, baked organic whole wheat bread for Ronke and Tofunmi. I made scrambled organic duck (rich in healthy fats and good for men) and chicken eggs using organic vegetables from my backyard garden and I woke Ronke and Tofunmi up to eat freshly baked bread and scrambled eggs. It was a beautiful Saturday morning. The best day of my life.
All day, Tofunmi refused to sing “Happy birthday” for Daddy, probably because she did not realize I was a mortal who was introduced to this planet on a certain day and who will depart this planet on another certain day, after becoming satisfied with long life or the rapture has occured. Tofunmi kept referring to others she had sang “happy birthday” for in the recent past, but not Daddy. It was a beautiful Saturday like any other. The best day of my life.
I made sure I responded to each of the unusually high number of happy birthday messages from facebook. I did not want to create a blanket response because people took their time to write and the least I could do was honour each one by taking time to respond. I am learning to spend time responding to people because life is about people, not about things or projects. It was a beautiful day, like any other. The best day of my life.
I made it a point to do what I would have done any other day, to celebrate life, to celebrate the day that the Lord has made and to rejoice and be glad in it. That is something I want to do daily, for the rest of my days. So really, yesterday was not more special than today. Today is actually a better day simply because my life gets better and shines brighter everyday, as stated in the Bible. In addition, today is all I have so I choose to celebrate today as the best day of my life.
Recently, Ronke and I started a tradition where we take our Pastors out on our birthdays. We wanted to reverse the idea of receiving benefits on our birthdays to giving benefits on our birthdays. It has been a rewarding tradition, something to look forward to each year. I highly recommend the principle of celebrating birthdays by being a blessing. Being a blessing does much more wonders for me, than having a birthday party or expecting gifts. I believe that as Jesus said, it is more blessed to give than to receive and like everyday, one’s birthday should be just another day to be a blessing, just another day to be thankful for, just another day to celebrate and rejoice, a day like today, the best day of my life, whichever day it is.
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