My beloved birthday month is over, and as usual I celebrate from the 1st day of March to my special day of March 11th. It is my practice to savor it all the way to the end of the month. I can remember the struggles of having a birthday as I got older because it seemed each one brought a certain feeling of disappointment in myself as I would review my life’s accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong. I was and still am thankful for each one, but I also feel every one of us should have accomplished one of our major goals. If we have not, we need to ask ourselves why.
The encouraging news is, as we get older, we learn to accept the successes and disappointments in a less critical way. We begin to let our age and wisdom empower us to keep pushing through whatever life throws at us. Like the statement we say at our church says: “I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.” I always remember this when things seem bad, and realize I’m never alone.
This birthday, I promised myself I would just chill with a few of my favorite things. I would shop at my favorite mall to redeem my birthday treats from one of my cosmetic stores. I would enjoy my birthday treat from Starbucks, a dinner from a favorite Italian restaurant, a slice of fabulous cheesecake instead of cake, and a glass of wine while watching March Madness and checking my bracket. I was good being me. You do know that with all of that goodness and chill came a little evil.
One night, as I sat with my legs firmly placed with my favorite throw watching T.V. with my daughter, I received a text. I assumed it had to be about my birthday. I noticed no name but the number seemed familiar. The text said “I was thinking of you today. You’ve never left my heart.” I responded with “that is so nice of you to say; but, who is this? The response was salty, “well, I guess if you can’t remember then perhaps what we had was no so memorable after all.”
I was like WTH! When it was really worth the official “F” word, but I really work on refraining from that word. After googling the number and checking my old phone contacts, it proved to be Mr. Ghosted. You know who I’m talking about, the one that just disappeared. Needless to say, I began to remember how my heart hurt so bad that I needed an Advil for it. I remembered how I prayed through the hurt and anger. I remembered how I started to feel free from it. I also remembered that I had asked the Lord above for an answer, so I would be able to set him straight about his trifling self.
Casper the Unfriendly Ghost
Well, a week later I received a call from the same number. It was “Mr. Casper” wishing me a happy birthday. I said a polite “thank you” and an internal “Oh boy!” How I’ve waited to begin the long awaited cursing, I was gonna cut him to the quick, but… nothing vile came, nothing!
What just happened? Where did my venom go with my swirling neck with my finger pointed in the air to make my point? Why is my mouth continuing to respond nicely? It wasn’t because he was shocked and sad to hear about my mother and was apologizing for not being there for me. It wasn’t because I was happy he had been going through life’s trials with death and sickness in his own family. It was because I had forgiven him. I forgave him in order to move on and be healthy. I expressed how much his sudden ghosting hurt, but I found myself savoring the warm embrace of my forgiveness, confirming that I had released myself, and knowing it was the right thing. It was relief and release.
It opened our opportunity to admit our horrible communication skills. It was a chance for him to apologize and for me to accept. Please understand, this was hard. Hard as it was, it was easier for me to go from hate to forgiveness. I may never hear from him again, and that’s fine. But, I thank God that I received my answer and my lesson in forgiveness. Even when we think we can’t, we can. Get your “forgive” on. Whatever hurt is driving your heart to hardness, just let it go. You know something funny, I realized my Mr. Casper turned out to be a friendly ghost after all.
[Janet E. Blakemore is a former full-figure model, former director of a modeling school, retiree from TN State Government, and an awesome, vibrant spirit of a person. In addition to writing, Janet is an entrepreneur who enjoys retail therapy, being a Tennessee State University alum, and time with her adult daughter and extended family. ]