20.

So today is the day that I finally abandon my teenage years. I’ve seen two decades come and go, and what a fascinating, formative two decades it has been.  One of the most important takeaways from the time I’ve meandered around during my time here has been that the gifts I got each year were found in the people who were present (no pun intended).  It’s these people that I’ve come to adore more than any material objects I receive.  Sure, it’s nice getting something unexpected, but at the end of the day, the person is what’s going to last; gifts come and go, but people surprise me far more than anything I’ve ever received.

Right at 12 AM of today, I was on my computer watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia when I hear my phone vibrate.  I ignore it because I could probably respond after the episode and no one would be the wiser.  However, it begins to vibrate more and more consistently and I begin to get nervous. Being an instinctive pessimist, I had begun to think up outlandish scenarios in which one of my close friends had gotten kidnapped and was texting all the information I might need to find him or her. I picked up my phone, double-tapped the screen to wake it up, and slid my thumb down from the top of the screen only to reveal seven new text messages, all echoing one sentiment: happy birthday.

I went through each one and read it before responding to the person in kind, hopefully personalizing it enough to the point where it didn’t seem like I sent a mass “thank you” out to everyone.  And as the Facebook posts slowly started rolling in, perhaps because people remembered or perhaps because Facebook is the most diligent companion to us all in terms of remembering birth dates, I began thinking about the pleasure that would be responding to all the wall posts.

I like Facebook – this is a well-established fact.  However, I think my favorite thing to do is respond to the wall posts that make their way in.  Something about birthday Facebook posts makes them especially fun to respond to; you never know what is going to be said to you.  From the social obligation to the heartfelt post from someone close to heart, I appreciate each one, some obviously more than most, but the fact that someone I barely know wished me a happy birthday does give me some hope for the cordiality of humanity.

Anyhow, my birthday is over, and the last thing that’s pulsing through my mind like the neon sign of a late night shop is that I love the people God puts in my life, and this next year, I hope to show these people even more love than I have this past year.  And not just these people, because the Word says that it’s easy to love people who love you, but may this upcoming year be one in which I may love the unfamiliar, unsavory, and misunderstood.  Twenty years on Earth and it’s taken me this long to realize God’s love for us all, but hey – at least He revealed it to me finally.  I’m determined to try and show those around me how deep His love is.

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