It's Tony's birthday week.
Well, his actual birthday is not until Sunday, the 12th. I did not know there was such a thing as a birthday week until I met Tony, but I have come to love it. Apparently it is a family tradition to celebrate the entire week before a birthday.
This should be the time we help him usher in his 36th year.
Instead we remember his 35 previous years.
I made a really big deal out of his 35th birthday last December. We were gearing up for his intensive MBA program at Emory where he would not get to see his family and friends very much over the following 16 months. He actually spent his birthday at orientation for classes. I planned a series of surprises, based on a list he gave me of things he would like ~ dinners with small groups of friends, skating with the Sansburys, a big family bowling party, and a special date night for us. He requested no gifts, but to sponsor a family for Christmas instead. So I had his family bring toys for 2 adopted boys who had a very nice holiday, thanks to my selfless husband.
The best gift of all was the countless voicemails he received with the absolute worst voices singing "Happy Birthday." Good belly laughs for Tony and payback for friends and family who endured his silly songs on their birthdays over the years. Oh, to have him sing to us again!
The final item on his birthday wish list that had yet to be fulfilled was a day for his friends and family to serve at a homeless shelfter together.
Well, my love, your list is going to officially be complete. Over 50 of us will be at City of Refuge on the morning of your birthday to put together boxes of food for the last, the lost and the least in Atlanta. Several others will be serving in their own communities. And I know your servant's spirit will meet us there.
I have been clinging to Hebrews this week, so I leave you with these verses that remind me of Tony:
Hebrews 10: 19-25: "Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Dearly loved, happy birthday Tony,