My Birthday

The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose.
~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

Today is my birthday.
32 years ago today, I came into this world.

In most of the world, birthdays are a time of taking.
Receiving wishes, getting gifts, being treated like royalty.

But when I was in India, I learned that in many parts of the world, birthdays are actually a time of giving. The children at the school where I volunteered had the opportunity to be out of uniform for the day so they could  wear their best outfit, and they handed out candy or sweets to all of the students and teachers.

The most beautiful part was that, since this was a school for underprivileged children - from the streets, the slums, or orphanages - they had nothing, and yet, on their birthday, they still gave. Even though their families may not have enough to feed themselves some days, they gave.

It was humbling to be in an environment where, even in the midst of perceived nothingness, there was so much generosity. And here, we have so much, and in the midst of all this too-much-ness, we often still want more.

I read an article about a young guy who, instead of doing a "bar crawl" on his birthday - where you and your friends jump from bar to bar and drink yourselves silly - he invited his friends to do a "service crawl", instead. And they walked the streets of Manhattan doing good things for people.

What an inspiring idea.

To take your day and show the world exactly why it is better with you in it.

Definitely an idea I can ascribe to. 

So today, I ask you this:
Celebrate my birthday with me. Do something nice for someone else. And as a birthday gift, tell me about what you did.

Holding a door open, smiling at someone, or volunteering at a shelter. There will be no better birthday gift for me than receiving messages of random of acts of kindness around the world.

I hope this is my best birthday ever... for all of us, and for everyone we meet.

For it is in giving that we receive.
~ St. Francis of Assisi

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