Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My favorite birthday(s)

When I was 10, I got a cap pistol and holster set for my birthday. I think my Mom might have a picture. I can see myself in an old Polaroid, with a silly, delighted grin on my face. More than any birthday present from my youth, that pistol set was exactly what I wanted. I was very excited and I remember it with fondness.

(Not a flying toy... and not my  pistol set. I found this picture online.)

In 2008, when I was 41, Thomas Monson came to Twin Falls to dedicate the Twin Falls temple on my birthday. We moved to Twin Falls in August 2004 and Pres. Hinckley announced the construction of the Twin Falls temple in October of that year. We watched the property go from small golf course to temple grounds. From steel girders to white stone cladding to Angel Moroni to final landscaping, we watched with keen anticipation for the dedication day. We even got to be in the temple for the dedication. What a thrilling experience. It was a spiritual high. Pres. Monson stopped to talk to our boys very briefly on his way out of the temple that day.

Do birthdays matter? I think so. Perhaps we make too much of them, in some ways, but a moment once a year to remember the day a friend was born... that's worthwhile.

For a guy like me, who in spite of all other pretensions and proclamations, is pretty materialistic and vain, they have mattered quite a bit over the years. These days, I'm trying to "turn the circle outward" a bit more. When we focus on ourselves, we are like an inward turning spiral which pretty soon disappears down it's own vain...uh, drain. Turn the spiral the other way... focus on others... and your circle gets bigger and bigger. Which way do you want to live?

So... which was your favorite birthday? One of yours or an instance where you did something for someone else?