The problem with the modern day's emphasis on the personal -- personal
achievement, personal growth, personal problems -- is that we miss the point
of the communal experience. We're encouraged to be individuals, to go
off an "do our own thing".
Divide and conquer, I say. We've become a fragmented lot.
When someone has a baby, we should all rejoice, as we're *all* of us the
richer...as I'd hope we're all prepared to help out.
When someone gets married, we should all rejoice, as we're all of us
stronger...as I'd hope that, again, we'd all try to pitch in to help the new
When someone gets a new job, graduates from a school, or achieves a goal,
they should know that they take our eyes along to watch them and more than
our good wishes along to speed them. They should know that they
succeed for us as much as for themselves, and that we're ready to back 'em
And, when someone has a birthday, it's not just *their* personal day.
A birthday means that that person's ancestors are that much more secure of
their bloodline continuing, through all the twists and turns it's taken.
With each birthday, we're that much more able to add luster to their names,
to make them proud, to pitch in and help.
Each new year is a new opportunity for the person to enjoy the personal, but
is also a new opportunity for us to celebrate the person.
When we celebrate the anniversary of a person's birth, we're celebrating
more than their parents, but their parents' parents. We celebrate the rivers
of blood come together to make our kinsman. We don't have an
"Ancestor's Day". Birthdays, perhaps, might be a good time
to remember them and to celebrate them, and with them.
We should *all* of us celebrate Pip's birthday. Look what he's done
for us all, and (he's a year my junior, so I can say this) he's still a
young sprout and can do more.
Birthdays, births, marriages, moving to new quarters, graduations, the
coming together of households and clans, all of them make us stronger and
can serve to bring us together. Wedding anniversaries, as any woman
can tell you, should be left as personal, between the man and wife.
But, We should look forward to finding reasons to celebrate each-other,
mourn each-other's losses -- we are connected, so they are our losses, too
-- and lend a hand when needed.
That's what families do.
So, let us not wish him a happy birthday. Let us celebrate it!
He comes from good stock, and they celebrate with us.
Long life and good health to Young Pip! He has a lot of work still to