Archive for August, 2006

The rest of the story


I’m usually not that great with surprises, but sometimes I really enjoy them. Thursday was one of those cases. The “Birthday that took a while to end” stretched into day three on Thursday night (there was a pre-birthday cookies and cup cakes extravaganza at my seminary class on Tuesday night).

Before the weekly gathering of the campus ministry that I work with a student approached me and handed me a bucket that said, “Happy B-day, B-Wat” on it. She then proceeded to drop a single golf ball signed by her into the bucket. I was not really sure what to make of the whole thing as I was genuinely surprised. A few moments later a couple other students that I knew came up and tossed more signed golf balls into the bucket. Now I was starting to catch on. Over the course of the evening 40-50 students came up and wished me a happy birthday and added their golf balls to the collection. It was a very kind gesture and really made me feel appreciated. I was almost embarrassed at all of the attention.

As if that weren’t enough, after the meeting was over, I was told to wait around until 9:45. I knew there was a scavenger hunt going on after the meeting and figured that it had something to do with that. When I walked out into the entryway of the Student Union, a large group of people began singing Happy Birthday to me and announced that they had brought refreshments. One of the students, a semi-professional cake decorator, had made me a cake and decorated it like a golf course (see picture). It was pretty amazing. She even used brown sugar for the sand trap – very creative. The cake was awesome as were the birthday wishes.

And to top it all off, when I got home I had a birthday card from my friend Mark. In it he said that he had purchased me a one-year subscription to SciFi magazine. Does he know me or what? Thanks, Mark! You are awesome!

Day four (Friday) brought more celebration when my team of co-workers cooked lunch for the whole team and served yet another cake (no golf theme this time). It was almost an entire week of celebrating. It makes me wonder if God is trying to tell me something about the value of celebration. Even if not, it was a great week.

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Birthday thoughts…


I don’t usually cry when I receive a birthday present, but this year was different. For most folks, birthdays aren’t that big of a deal. And they probably wouldn’t be in my family either except that my mom always made them so. Her love-language was gift-giving, so birthdays and other holidays were her time to shine. And when she gave, she never did it half-way. Past birthday presents have included such things as a lawn mower, a kitchen table and chairs and a surround sound system. Mom was always a picture to me of how generous God is to us.

So you can imagine how different things felt on my first birthday without her. No card in the mail, no package on my doorstep when I got home from campus, no outrageous check with a picture printed off of the internet showing what I was supposed to purchase with it in my mail box. Nothing. Until…

My wonderful girlfriend shows up at my house Wednesday evening a few minutes before we are to go eat steak with some of my friends (can you get a better birthday? I think not.). In addition to the hand-made card filled with things she appreciates about me, she is carrying a wrapped box. Upon opening it, I discover a brand new pair of Keens (see picture). And I cried. And then I cried some more.

On the surface, it was just a pair of really cool hiking/rafting sandals. But underneath it was so much more. Some one had seen me. They knew me well enough to know what I liked. And they were extravagant in their giving (they aren’t cheap sandals). And all of a sudden it felt like mom was there. And God was good. I know my sweetie wasn’t trying to live up to the memory of my mother. She was just being herself. But mom would have been proud. It is one of the many reasons why I love her.

So, not a bad birthday after all. And the steak and friends at dinner were good too. Thanks to my friends for sharing the day with me. And the crazy part is that the birthday didn’t end there. But that is fodder for another post.