Birthday cards and birthday messages.

Serious fans of “the West Wing” will get the reference!

This evening, I’ve spent time writing (among other things) three birthday cards. They are all for choristers, none of whom I know particularly well, but all of whom I admire for various reasons.

Here’s the thing about birthday cards, though. It’s a little bit too easy to just write a generic sort of message. Have a great day and best wishes for the year ahead. I figure that there’s not really much point in that, even if the wish is genuine. So I try to write something nice about the person. What I admire about them. Why I value them. I guess it makes them feel good. But also, it’s good for me. It’s good for me to think about the blessings I’m surrounded by. The people I don’t know well but who bless me with their presence. I value his gentleness, how caring he is, how he is genuinely interested in everyone. I value her sense of humour, her dry self-deprecating wit, her open friendliness. I value her vibrancy and vividness.

It’s such a little thing, a birthday card. And perhaps these three people don’t really care about what I think, will just be happy to get another card for their birthday. But tonight I will go to bed just a little more aware of the wonderful people I’m surrounded by. Just a little more aware of how blessed I am in knowing these gentle, caring, funny, vibrant people. Just a little more grateful.

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2 thoughts on “Birthday cards and birthday messages.

  1. Naomi, I came across this piece by Henri Nouwen on birthdays. I sometimes include it in birthday cards, when I remember!

    ‘Celebrating Being Alive’:
    ‘Birthdays are so important. On our birthdays we celebrate being alive. On our birthdays people can say to us, “Thank you for being!” Birthday presents are signs of families’ and friends’ joy that we are part of their lives. Little children often look forward to their birthdays for months. Their birthdays are their big days, when they are the centre of attention and all their friends come to celebrate.

    We should never forget our birthdays or the birthdays of those who are close to us. Birthdays keep us childlike. They remind us that what is important is not what we do or accomplish, not what we have or who we know, but that we are, here and now. On birthdays let us be grateful for the gift of life.’

  2. I love that, Lynette! “Thank you for being” is such a profound thing, and probably the biggest compliment and affirmation of a person’s worth we could give. This year I experienced that on my birthday…and it’s something that still buoys me up when I feel that I’m sinking. There are people who are grateful for my presence in their lives – and there are people whose presence enriches my life immeasurably.

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