The Big Fuss
It’s funny how the older I get, the more I find myself saying things around my birthday like, “It’s really only a number,” or “I don’t know where the time went.” When I was younger, the ticking off of another year really meant something. It marked a right of passage or maybe just paying less for car insurance. Now the day comes and a lot of years I get some dinner with friends after working a full day (like I will tomorrow). I don’t make a big fuss about my birthdays anymore.
I don’t begrudge anybody all the celebrating they want to do in the world. I know people who devote whole weeks or months to celebrating their birthdays. There is something very wonderful and joyous about that. I think about deciding one year to jump in and take a month and celebrate something different every day about the bounty of a life I am blessed to enjoy every day. Maybe the intentionality of celebrating something about one’s life every day for a month, or dare I say, every day, might be worth while. I wonder what kind of impact those little celebrations would have.
But of course, I do have some clue what it would be like. I know what a year-round weekly celebration feels like. I know what picking music with my friend feels like for the occasion. I know what writing a speech for the occasion feels like. I know what it looks like when my friends get together to give a gift to someone in our community who needs it. I celebrate almost every Sunday with some of the finest people in the world I happen to know. And maybe it’s the routine of celebrating that makes the one day a year so many celebrate so often so much less of an important day for me.
People wonder at the word worship that we use on Sundays. Some prefer the word service. But by celebrating weekly on a Sunday, we stand in a tradition that remembered and honored freedom from the bondage of slavery. The commandment to keep holy the sabbath and remembering freedom is how this whole weekly worship, or service, or celebration thing got started after all. And every Sunday, though we have not seen the slide as often as we used to, our opening slide says: “9:57 Announcements; 10:00 am Celebration Service.”
I’m glad the years are gone when society bestows some special new right with a passing year of my life. To be honest, I didn’t treat many of those rights with the respect they were due back then. I’m glad to be a year older, sure. But I am more glad for a year filled with more and more celebrations of the life we all share. I am more glad for the celebrations of friendship in visits to this island, in sharing vegan gelato, or in driving to the beach talking about life. I still don’t know where the time went, but somehow this year even that is a cause for an even more joyful celebration.
And may it always be so.
Rev. T. J.