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Let’s celebrate the people we love

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I love witty birthday cards. I read “However old you are is the new 30,” and I chuckle. Not because it’s true, but because I wish it was.   Even cheesy or sappy cards work. If one of my kids sends me one that starts, “I’m thankful for all that you taught me…” it doesn’t matter how the ca…
By Seth Barnes
fireworrks 2I love witty birthday cards. I read “However old you are is the new 30,” and I chuckle. Not because it’s true, but because I wish it was.
 
Even cheesy or sappy cards work. If one of my kids sends me one that starts, “I’m thankful for all that you taught me…” it doesn’t matter how the card ends. The point is my kiddo appreciates me.
 
One of the great things that Facebook does is allow us to have a little on-line birthday party. You can celebrate people whose real life party you’ll never be able to attend, all for the cost of about 30 seconds of typing a sentence on their profile page.
 
It got me out of bed this morning even before my coffee was making itself. At 5:56 I looked at the clock and the thought popped into my mind, “Hey, even now there is a birthday bandwagon forming for me over on FB. I should go look.” There’s even a jumping the gun phenomenon that happens – last night 20 early well-wishers had posted blurbs a day early.
 
And sure enough when I opened my computer, there was wonderful evidence that, for all my foibles and bad attitudes, I matter enough that this string of people, many of whom I’ve never met, care enough to come over to my page and say something celebratory.
 
I know Mike Paschall will tell me to shut up and just enjoy the attention, but I can’t help stepping outside myself and, watching this phenomenon, ask the question: “Why is it that all this hoopla is secretly so delightful?” It’s as though there’s an inner Sally Field that doesn’t quite believe we’re worth all the attention, and upon experiencing it, can’t help gushing, “They like me – they really like me!”
 
Life seems to bring us daily evidence that we’re not as special as we hoped. We go through seasons of trudging home from work feeling like a diminished Willy Loman (Arthur Miller’s tragic salesman). Age visits a succession of indignities on us – joints that creak, eyes that strain. You raise your kids and then the home feels hollow when they leave.
 
But as we applaud one another, we’re reminded of the twinkle that must have been in God’s eye when he made us. He made us with fantastic possibilities. He made us with gifts to discover and adventures to live. And I figure if he delights in us so, we do well to reflect that fact to one another with whatever celebrations we can.

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