“Gratitude gladdens the heart. It is not sentimental, nor jealous, nor judgmental. As gratitude grows, it gives rise to joy. We experience the courage to rejoice in our own good fortune and in the good fortune of others. Joy is natural to an open heart. In it, we are not afraid of pleasure. We do not mistakenly believe it is disloyal to the suffering of the world to honor the happiness we have been given. Like gratitude, joy gladdens the heart.”
~Excerpt from A Meditation on Gratitude and Joy from The Art of Forgiveness, Loving kindness and Peace by Jack Kornfield~
“Not too long a go I carried you in my arms. I remember like it was only yesterday…”
Some time today, I’ll get a phone call from my mom who will start the conversation with something that sounds like the above sentence. She usually does call to say and sing “Happy Birthday” so I’m not expecting this year to be any different. But she is late today (I guess cows happened…you know priorities) so mum, if you are reading this, your diligent-gone-wild-with-age daughter, is waiting. My dad always come through with that M-Pesa message.
P.S: I had a different article planned for today.
I’m celebrating my birthday today, and I am immediately overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude to The Almighty. Turning 26. I’m not sharing this news with hopes for either benevolent wishes or reassurances that 26 is really not that old. Lol! I am good with all that. It truly makes me happy to get to be alive yet another year – and I finally figured out the secret: growing a bit older every day seems to be the only way to continue to be alive. This seems an insight worthy of note. (HAHA)
I don’t know how you feel when that annual day comes around. Some birthdays are more unique and others are just that, a normal day of the year marked in a calender. Well mine, started on a good note. Messages from friends and family. Then as I walked into the office, everyone chanted a birthday song, then a present placed on my desk. Had me cutting onions! I’m grateful for that, and to my best friends Kame & Zibbs, I loved every bit of your surprise, with you niliponyoka na more than a pick up promotion! I LOVE YOU!
I do reflect a little on my birthday to see where I’ve been and how I’ve grown in the last year. I also project, thinking about what lies ahead in the months down the road. But more importantly, I spend a few moments in silent reflecting and thanking God for all the blessings.
When we came into this world, no one promised us a certain number of days, months, or years here on earth. We’re no more entitled to a far-reaching lifespan than anyone else on this planet. No amount of attachment to nuanced goals or well-constructed plans for the future assures us longevity. Neither does eating gluten free, taking ten supplements every morning, or meditating – but I will do it anyway. Counter to what some in the “New Age” movement say.
Having a birthday welcomes a reminder that it is nothing short of a total miracle to be alive yet another year. I could call it any number of things, but with the sheer volume of mind-blowing things that can go wrong. When I say “miracle” I am not referring to “lightning bolts coming down from heaven and having some wish granted” kind of miraculous – I mean that it is so stunningly humbling and awe-inspiring to be alive every day that I cannot help but think that having the opportunity to grow older and to age is a total privilege worth celebrating. Bring on the effects of gravity…and bring on the gratitude.
Life is a precious gift and we should live each day to its fullest potential.