Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Is My Birthday So Special?

After I turned 30, I’ve jokingly said each year thereafter that I don’t celebrate my birthday anymore and treat it like any other day. This year, my approach is much different.

Within the past 6 months, I’ve lost two friends. The first was Ellen. When I first moved to Atlanta, I knew very few people – less than 5. One of my friends from NC mentioned that he had a “home girl” living in Atlanta who was also from NC. He thought that we had much in common and would probably get along. So, he forged an introduction and we immediately became ‘fast friends.’

Ellen was a Bennett girl who pledged Delta and did her graduate studies at Columbia. She was full of life. Last year while I was working on the Obama campaign, she would call so we could chat about politics. We were political sisters. I attended the Democratic Convention in Denver and was at the Invesco Field speech. So on election night, assuming that I was in Chicago, she called to scream in my ear about Obama’s win. She said, “I may have missed Denver, but I will definitely be in DC for the Inauguration.” From that day forth, we began making plans for the Inauguration…….checking for ball tickets, what to wear, etc. Every week that past, the excitement was building.

Then just one week before the big event, she was gone.

The second of my friends was Harold. While I was a student, I began my first part-time off campus job as a sales clerk in a clothing store. Little did I know at the time, that the acquaintances made in that store would become life-long friendships. Harold fell in that category. After I moved to Atlanta, he & I didn’t talk as often, but I would occasionally stop by when driving through Charlotte. When I eventually moved back to Charlotte, our offices were next door to each other. So, we would chat in the parking lot when leaving work. Then, a few years later, I moved to DC. After moving, we rarely talked, but was always an email away.

Just two weeks ago, I had received an email from him on some national news. If he thought I was interested in something, he would always forward and vice versa. So, after the tragic event at the Holocaust museum, I was awaiting an email from him to get his commentary.

Unfortunately, I received an email from a guy that I did not know with Harold’s full name in the subject. My sick sense told me it was bad news before I even clicked it open. The sender, Thomas, had taken an email blast previously sent by Harold and replied to all of the recipients. He informed that Harold was in a fatal automobile accident.

Here are two people who started their day like any other day. Both left their homes and went to work. Then in the middle of their work day, their lives ended…..just like that.

I reminisce on the conversations Ellen & I shared the last two months of her life. We had so many plans, but GOD held the master plan.

This life that is given to us is a gift that we must cherish. Many of us wish for Friday beginning on Monday morning…..literally, wishing our lives away. Not taking the time to savor each and every day as if it is our last.

My friends Ellen & Harold could not have imagined that they were going to die so soon. Understanding how sudden their deaths were should be an example of how we should live. We all have a chance to live each day as if it is our last. We can apologize to those we have wronged; we can tell love ones how much we love them; we can assure that we have no regrets; and continue to pray for guidance.

So, as I relish the day of my birth, I want to thank GOD again for letting me see another day and another year. I hope that with each year passed, that I’ve gained wisdom and a closer relationship with HIM.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who sent me cards, emails and birthday wishes via Facebook for sharing this wonderful journey with me called life.