by Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza
May 23, 2011
Most of us consider our birthdays as a significant and meaningful event in our lives. We celebrate it in different ways, but what is important is that we have to be thankful because it is the day that we had been given our precious life here on earth. We have to live through the days, months, and years in spite and despite all the events in our lives.
Having another birthday means a new day is waiting for us to experience life. We may be a year older, but we definitely grow wiser and stronger.
People say that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. I don’t think so. On the night of May 13, 1983, after my mother went through 12 hours of labor, I came out of her womb via caesarian section.
But I did not make my first cry like normal babies do. I wasn’t even breathing. My umbilical cord was coiled around my neck and caused me to suffocate.
Bad luck? Definitely not, because I was brought back to life and I am alive today! I have always looked forward to my birthday. Maybe because of the cakes, balloons, gifts, and parties, be they simple or grand. When I became too old for those kiddie stuffs, surprisingly, I was still excited for birthdays because I always believe that adding another year is something to celebrate about, until I matured more and understood that life is indeed a wonderful blessing from the One above.
I believe that I have lived my life well. I got to play and enjoy my childhood years. I enjoyed my teenage years so much that when my friends and I reminisce about it, we never run out of memories to smile and laugh about. I have fallen in and out of love. I've been hurt but stood up again. I cried, I laughed, I learned, and I had so much fun. I also made a lot of mistakes just like everyone else, but I have learned a lot from those mistakes, and I have learned not to regret anything that I have done because indeed, everything has a reason.
I have been alive for 28 years now and have received countless blessings.
I was sickly ever since I was a child, but I get to live a very normal life just like everyone else. Even my current sickness has paved the way for most of the blessings to come. Every progress and improvement that I make is something to be happy about and grateful for. I needed help, and I got a lot of helping hands and hearts with me. I wanted to do something, and I was overwhelmed with a lot of support from people of all walks of life. I cried, and a lot of people wiped away my tears. When I felt joy, there were a lot more people with whom I shared my laughter and smiles with. And most of all, I got to experience and know God more and feel his presence with me. That is the best blessing I have received!
I am so blessed with a lot of friends who were beside me in times of happiness and stayed with me even during times of hardships. I also gained a lot of friends along the way who never failed to support me in whatever I need, especially spiritually and emotionally. I am blessed with a lot of people in my life and I have been sharing these blessings for five years now through my annual ‘MAY Birthday Project’ by soliciting birthday gifts from these friends and sharing them with the charity patients (mostly children) at the Philippine General Hospital. Aside from these gifts, I also share with them three of my most important blessings and weapons: faith, strength, and hope. I am also sick and I know how these patients feel, so it is much easier to comfort them and cheer them up.
I used to joke with my friends that just like a cat, I also have nine sets of lives, and every time I undergo surgery and treatment, I receive a new life, and that makes me younger because every time that happens, my age turns one year old again. I also put the word ‘teen’ after my age, I was 27 -teen a month ago, which makes me 28-teen now!
Many people look for the meaning of existence and for the meaning of living, when looking for the experiences of just being alive already gives meaning to existence. I choose to live life as a child — not in a childish manner, but with a childlike faith, trusting in God and in His designs, running to Him as a child would, with simplicity, obedience, receptivity, and humility. It is for these virtues that God loves the little children. In Mark 10: 14, Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
I thank God for another year of living. “Masarap mabuhay. Gusto niyong tikman? Tara!”