Today's my birthday. I'm 27 today.
Yeah. I know 27 isn't a special birthday. It's not like I'm getting my driver license or anything. And, I'm not going crazy like my closest friend did last year when she cried, "Now, I'm just 3 years from 30!"
Actually, I'm looking forward to my 30s.
But for now, I'm 27. Not that 26 wasn't good. It was. But, this birthday is special to me. Even now, I can feel eyes watering. It's because of how far I've come since . . . ever.
You know. Usually, when I give my personal testimony, I recall how I couldn't believe Jesus loved me so much that he became a baby just for me. And the fact that he came back to life with Papa Smurf's help did it for me. I was sold! It was gonna be me and Jesus for life.
I was 4 when I accepted Christ. And don't worry. If I didn't know what I was doing then, and I did, I certainly do now. Nothing's changed about that testimony. That God would put on flesh and limitations of humanity just to pay for my sins still sends shivers down my spine, and that he was cruxicified and arose without a defibilator still blows me mind. I'm still sold. It's still me and Jesus for life.
But, I've never told anyone the entire truth of why accepted Christ. It wasn't that I didn't know anyone who loved me more. I didn't think I knew anyone who loved me. Yeah. Odd for a four year-old, and my mother would hate to hear that, but that's how I felt.
I used to have a hard time accepting or believing anyone loved me. Unconditionally, I mean. Even through my teens. You don't know my family, and this would make more sense. My mom is a local politician and has a lot of influence in the black community. My grandparents' and uncle owned their own business. I was a star student and basketball player. So, when people smiled and hugged me or shook my hand, I always thought it had more to do with mom than me. Or because my grades or basketball play impressed them. Even when older women would comment to my mom how pretty I was, I didn't pay that much attention. I thought that was more a compliment for my mom than for me; everyone swore how much I looked like her. And boys, well . . . let's say I was aiming for an academic scholarship and I wasn't interested in high school sex. I mean really. Having sex with someone who walked around with his pants hanging off his hips and couldn't remember to bring paper and pencil to school? Yeah, um, no.
College wasn't much different. Of hundreds of classmates, I only managed to remember close to 60 or 70 or their names, and most of that was due to some nudging. So, I really didn't care much for other people. Only a few people really stuck.
Oh. And that was just school. I was star in religious circles, too. Not a bad singer. Pretty good speaker (when I wasn't full of myself at the time).
But now, and granted it's took sometime, I actually believe people love me for me. And I can actually love them back. Nothing's changed in the way my family demonstrates affections, but I even believe my mom loves me. That wasn't always the case.
So, now that melodrama's been explained, there's actually more.
I know who I am now. Growing up, there were some lies I believed about myself. One was that I had a mean streak. That was punctuated by the fact that I could successfully discipline a youth choir of 15 kids without much hometraining. But now, I know who I am. I like sports, but I'm not gay. I can be quite prissy actually. But, going through life believing the worst about yourself just isn't a way to live. . . . Unless it's true, then, it's time for some self-examination I'd say.
And I know what I want from life. I know who I want in life. I don't wake up every morning hoping to die because the pain and exhaustion of chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction is so disorienting.
The best part is that I'm not afraid of the future any more. I'm not absolutely sure what the future holds for me, but I'm not afraid to meet it.
And here is where I digress a bit for the purpose of making a point. Contrary to what evangelicals and fundamentalists believe, not all lives are worth living. Terry Shiavo's husband was doing the right thing. Her parents didn't care about her. They just wanted to have their need for her presense met. Waking up hurting places you didn't realize you had isn't a way to live. So, let your loved ones go. Don't make them suffer for your own selfish reasons.
Back to me. I have been suicidal. It started during adolesenses. Part of the reason I spent over half my life thinking my mother didn't love me isn't just that she didn't say it; it's because she was always fussing at me about something. And there seemed to be nothing I could do that she wouldn't critique. And parents, that's not a way for your kids to live, either. What I didn't know was how she bragged about me to other people, including my brother. He and I both thought the other was the favorite child - parents, don't do that to your kids. Everything doesn't have to be perfect. Don't get me wrong. My mom didn't miss a basketball game. Even if all she talked about on the way home was how I didn't hold my follow through long enough.
But I've put all that behind me. I'm responsible for what I feel and think about myself. And, I'm taking God's word for it that I'm the apple of God's eye.
So, basically. Since life has no more meaning that what you're able to put into it, and I know that, I'm not afraid of the future. I know I have plenty to put into life. And know I have definite plans. In college, it killed me that I didn't have a clue as to what I'd be doing after graduation. Plus, I was sick and didn't know. Think it's bad having a doctor tell you there's nothing left for them to do and you only have a few months to live. Try just turning 22 and have a doctor look you in the eyes and say, "I know something's wrong. I just don't know what." My world crashed. I could hear and see my life shattering like broken glass. Like I had been in a head on without a seat belt, but not dead. I wish I could say no pain . . . but well, unbeknownst to me and the doctor, I had CFIDS.
Now, treatments are getting better. I finally have enough pain medicine, none of which is narcotic - but if you got an extra vicodine or something from oral surgery . . . Ha ha ha! I'm just kidding.
Not really. So, I was afraid of a future that virtually had little to nothing to offer. But now, I'm 27. I'm not as afraid to share my heart as I was just a few months ago. I don't know exactly what I'll be doing the next few years, but you can believe the world will change as far I can reach it.
I've come a long way in what's really a short time. I'm 27. And I'm making my life happen.