Salute to the birthday boy and girl

A look at the cultural and personal significance, and modes of celebrating - birthdays

Birthdays ¬ what’s to say about them? I guess that depends on who you ask.

For some people they’re an inconvenience, a reminder of their mortality, I guess. And yet for others, like me, they are important milestones which mark each achievement, each failure and life adventure. Just like the many ribbons which encircle lovely wrapped gifts, so they tie together life, whether it be good or bad.

I know so many people who consider birthdays and birthday celebrations to be a waste of effort and money.

While I comprehend that viewpoint, I fail to find the common ground of real understanding when it comes to declaring that the day one was born is unimportant. Do they not understand that every beginning, and every end, no matter how miniscule we might be in the scope of all things, is still an important and sacred thing? Every life, every form that grows, changes lives and dies has value.

Life, for me is a series of celebrations. Lord knows we have enough heartache in our life and celebrations are simply a way of illuminating the good times and allowing the light to warm us and guide us.

There is a special person in my life who insists that he doesn’t want his birthday marked in any way. No presents, thank you. No cards, thank you. No acknowledgement that this is a special day when a special person came to be.

I simply tell him that while he might not consider his birth momentous, there are many in his life that value his every being and thus celebrate that special day.

The argument that “we have everything we need and don’t need another gift” doesn’t quite convince me that birthdays are to be ignored. Beautiful is the day that the people you love were born. Beautiful is each birthday that you get to celebrate while your loved one is alive.

Every person is a light. Every person has value.

Family celebrations and traditions are important reminders that each and every one of us is important. It is the glue which binds families. When there is no cohesiveness, there really isn’t family.

Gifts, while unimportant in the physical way, are a way of honouring those whom you love. But many fail to understand that true gifts are not always store-bought.

True gifts, you see, are those with no economic value. They are the gifts of the heart. The simple gift of forgiveness is beautiful and glorious. The gift of totally surrendering your heart is beyond value. The gift of support and love without expectation is one of the richest gifts one could give.

A simple “I love you,” “I forgive you” or simply listening to the one you love speak their heart is immeasurable. It cost us nothing, and yet the value is beyond calculation.

Yes, I celebrate life. I celebrate each victory. I even celebrate each sorrow, for without the sorrow, those victories would be hollow indeed. I celebrate failure and I celebrate success. The two balance each other beautifully and their juxtaposition is lovely and golden.

I think those who claim to not want any recognition on their birthday might feel as if they are not worthy. I beg to differ. Every person should have his or her life honoured whether it be in grandiose ways, or in simple, humble ways.

You are unique. You are special. Even in this large world where we sometimes feel like specks of dust, trust that your very being was meant to be and that in the scope of all things that are right in this world, you matter.