Being and Becoming
November 29, 2013


It’s weird when my birthday is on Thanksgiving Day.

My birthday is the one day each year when I give myself permission to be a little selfish and indulgent. I get control of the remote, choice of meals, and I don’t do dishes, laundry, or any other housework. I love reading the birthday greetings on Facebook, but give myself permission not to do any work. My mom makes homemade chicken and dumplings for me and my entire extended family gets together for a big meal.

I hate how this sounds, but the truth is, my birthday is about me.

Thanksgiving is about everything but me. It’s about being thankful for how richly I’ve been blessed; beyond what I need, what I deserve, or anything I’ve earned. The good things in my life have nothing to do with any goodness in me; they are all gifts that God, in His generosity, has bestowed on me.

To consider Thanksgiving on my birthday is a bit like Dr. Doolittle’s pushi-pullyu, a “gazelle-unicorn cross” which has two heads (one of each) at opposite ends of its body. When it tries to move, both heads try to go in opposite directions.

It’s tempting to think about gratitude in the days and weeks that lead up to Thanksgiving Day, forget about it in the Black Friday madness, and wrap ourselves up in Christmas preparations. Birthdays don’t give us that option.

Yesterday was my 55th birthday. I’m still 55 today, and I’ll be 55 until I’m 56 this time next year.

I also hope that I’ll be just as grateful throughout the year as I have been for the past few days.

My birthday isn’t about being 55 for a day; yesterday I became 55.

The dictionary definition of become is

to come, change, or grow to be.

I hope that through my 55th year, I will continue to grow to be more grateful for the extravagantly blessed life I enjoy. I hope I’ll think more of others and less of myself, and that by the next birthday I’ll be less focused on my own comforts and pleasures and more resolved to improve the lives of others.

Not just to be grateful, but to become grateful.


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