I turned 29 today.
IÂ was honestly too busy to start counting the days to my birthday in the past weeks. I stopped the countdown last year, and the days leading to my birthday this year was just filled with too many activities that I hardly thought of writing, or documenting anything, or counting, even. Before I knew it, it was the 16th of March, and I fell asleep before midnight and woke up – I’m already 29.
Every time I think of that -Â I’m turning 29,Â or now,Â I’m 29Â – I get this freaked out feeling inside. I always thought that age was just a number (and it still is), and I never thought that I’d be the kind of person who’d stop counting at a certain age…but really, I’m sort of freaking out. I’m almost at the end of this decade of my life. I’m almost thirty. I mean, it’s still a year to go, but I’mÂ twenty-freaking-nine. How did that happen?
When my friends asked me yesterday and today about my birthday wish, I was at a loss. I had…nothing, really. I got just a little bit worried. How can I not want something? But I don’t. I mean, yeah, there are some things that would be nice to have but it those nice-to-haves aren’t really deal breakers.
I am happy now.Â I mean, I was happy before, but now I don’t feel like asking for anything anymore. My 28th year was, as a friend described it, “…a year of surprises, of mending broken fences, of accomplishments.” It was a year of silence, of trying new things, of forgiveness, of transitions, embracing my crosses, and consecrations. It was an eventful year, and now it feels like all of those have finally settled down.
I’m actuallyÂ content.
So what now?
Most of the readings for my birthday in the past year were exhortations about blessings, and running the race, and being filled to overflow. This year’s readings were just a little bit different. First, the Gospel was about the paralytic man who stayed by the river for 38 years, waiting for his chance to get in to be healed. Jesus came, saw him and talked to him, and healed him by saying:
“Stand up, take up your mat, and walk.” – John5:8
It felt like a marching order of sorts. My 28th (and 27th) year(s) were very eventful, and I felt like they were the years where so many things happened in my life, in work, and in my relationships. It was a crazy ride, so to speak, and now that they’re all over, I still find myself still looking back, and kind of revisiting and reliving some of them. Now don’t get me wrong – it’s okay to look back. But maybe…not so much. I think it’s time that I stop lying there, waiting for something, because really I have been forgiven and healed, and I have been so blessed, that it is time to pick up my mat, and walk.
Walk towards something new. Walk towards what God has in store for me. Walk into where He wants me to be.
I take it back. I actually have a birthday wish. This came from today’s first reading:
“Wherever it flows, life abounds.” – Ezekiel 47:9
I never paid attention to this one before. This was the kind of first reading that didn’t really make sense to me, and I never really appreciated it. Interestingly, I found that I had highlighted this passage early on, and reading it now, on my 29th birthday, this suddenly made more sense.
I want to be someone where life abounds.
I don’t know if I said it right. But in my 29th year, I want to be the kind of person who gives life. Not physically, as in giving birth, or you know, suddenly going into medicine so I could save lives. I mean it more in the spiritual, maybe emotional sense. I want to be someone who’s so full of life that sharing it is the only thing to do. I want to be the kind of person whose words and actions give life to other people. I want to be someone that God uses to bring life and light to everyone I meet.
Truth be told, this wish, and this “marching order” of sorts kind of makes me nervous,Â on top of me freaking out that I am one year closer to 30. But time and time again, as one of my best friends always reminds me: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.Â :)
So thank you, to everyone who made this day special despite me being at work and really not having plans. Thank you for the 28th year, and thank you to all the people who journeyed with me.Â I am grateful.Â â™¥ I wish you love and joy, as always.
I leave you all with words from Pope Francis, one of my favorite messages during the Papal Visit last January:
Allow yourselves to be surprised by God. Donâ€™t be afraid of surprises. They shake the ground beneath our feet and make us insecure, but they move us forward in the right direction.
Here’s to 29. :)