Three years ago we started getting a special knock on our door every time someone in our family celebrated a birthday. That special knock always comes from the same person, and she’s always holding in her hand a handwritten birthday note. She doesn’t miss anyone; all of my children as well as my husband and I have had visits from her. The amazing thing about this is that she does it for everyone in our ward. A little math tells me that she’s written close to 1,000 birthday notes in the past three years!
Meet my friend Kathy:
Sunday night we held a surprise birthday party for her in my backyard, and it was everything I hoped it would be. She wore a birthday crown, blew out a special candle on the cupcake of her choice, and a very large group of voices joined in singing “Happy Birthday” to this wonderful woman who has shown such love to all of us. Kathy is a perfect example of someone who finds a way they can contribute, commits herself, and then sticks to it. Each birthday note in itself may be simple, but the cumulative effect of her efforts is grand indeed.
I’m estimating we had at least 150 people come. (I wish I’d had the presence of mind to count, but at least I had the thought to take pictures.) It was a success precisely because so many people came. I cannot express how heartening it was for me to watch them smile and jump in to help and to attend. In our busy world, and especially on that first weekend after school begins, there is SO much going on that it would have been so easy for everyone to view this idea as just one more thing and skip it. I understand that feeling. But they didn’t. The response was 100% positive and my heart was filled with love not just for Kathy, but for all the people I saw there who chose to come, who were willing to complicate their day to say thank you to someone who has done the same for all of us. I felt so happy, so grateful to live among these good people, so honored that I got to watch it all unfold.
People volunteered to bake a batch of cupcakes for the party. The tables were covered with them. I also asked that families or individuals write a birthday note to Kathy. A week ago while we were at church the children 11 and under in our ward all wrote/drew a birthday card for her. Thumbing through that stack brought tears to my eyes. We set a basket out and I got teary again as I watched it fill, then overflow with birthday wishes for Kathy to take home and read.
I am so grateful to everyone who contributed to this effort. I’m particularly grateful to her good friend who got her to the party for me. What a great lady she is as well!
It was a bit windy, but it was also nice and cool. Gratefully the rain held off and when it came it only sprinkled a bit. People visited and mingled, children ran and played, everyone ate cupcakes and talked to Kathy. A smashing success. I don’t think she’ll forget this birthday EVER, and that’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted her to know that we love her, and I think we sent the message loud and clear.
Best of all, I kept having the feeling that the Lord was pleased with all of us. Gathering to celebrate Kathy was more than just acknowledging a birthday. We were celebrating the worth of a soul, celebrating on the same terms that God sees us on without regard to status, wealth, fame or fashion.
In 1 Samuel chapter 16 it says, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; . . . for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (verse 7)
I feel like I got to see a lot of hearts on Sunday night, and it was a beautiful sight.