27 April, 2013

24 hrs of birthday parties

Well, that's not strictly correct. We're having two birthday parties within 24 hrs. Mine and my youngest son's. His, I'll write about next week, after I see how it goes!
Leaving Australia the second time for Japan, nearly
eight years ago to relocate to Tokyo, where we knew
practically no one.

For my 40th, I decided to be very Western and have a party with friends. Japanese people don't generally celebrate adult's birthdays much and especially not with a larger group of friends. I knew that I needed to organise it myself, but I didn't want to do all the work, so I've asked friends to do it for me. We'll pay for the food, for sure, but we're not the ones working today to organise it. However, it has turned out to be a weird feeling having people do all this for me. I don't usually look for so much attention, I don't know what it is going to feel like tonight.

On the two year review questionnaire I did earlier this week there were some new questions (this is our sixth one, I think, you get to know the questions). These were about friends.
Describe the significant friendships in your life since your last review.
In what ways have you experienced support from these friends?
In what ways have you supported these friends?
In the light of my upcoming party, it was easier to think about how friends have supported me, than how I'd supported them. There is something about being a missionary that makes you more dependent on other people. It is a humbling experience. I'm a little less "needy" these days with the boys not demanding quite as much of me as they used to, but I still often feel quite "weak".

I struggled to bring to mind things that I do for my friends. But I gradually realised that I do do things for my friends, I just don't keep a tally of them for ready reckoning. And it's certainly not something that I'm used to listing out. 

But it does help me to accept their help when I think of how I'd react if the situation was reversed. If at all possible, I'd be doing the same for them if they needed my help.

The other emotion that tags along whenever we have any kind of group celebration these days, whether in Japan or in Australia, is sadness. Disappointment that there are people who are very special to us, but can't be with us.

So as I anticipate celebrating my birthday tonight with some of my friends, I'm thinking wider than those whose geographical locality make it possible for them to come to the party. It is will be a group that is symbolic of the friends that God gives me wherever we go. A thanksgiving to Him.

When we came to Japan over 12 years ago we knew no one here. Then we did it again when we relocated to Tokyo almost eight years ago. But I look around me now and see God's incredible blessings in the people He's surrounded me with. Awe inspiring.

I am thankful for the friends who will gather tonight. But I am more thankful to my Heavenly Father who is with me wherever I go and provides me with abundantly more than I ask for!


Judie said...

Have a wonderful evening with your 'present' friends. Your absent friends will be thinking of you, too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy, I hope you enjoy the celebrations! God is gooood :)! x

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy, I hope you enjoy the celebrations! God is gooood :)! x

KarenKTeachCamb said...

Hope you had a fun evening. I know what you mean about those scattered friends. When I think through my friends I have several in Africa, one in South America, several in North America, plenty in Asia (both mainland and island), and of course there are those down under in Australia! I think the only continent missing is Europe, and I do have friends from there (they just happen to be in Cambodia)! What a great time we live in, that we can have friends from far and wide, and keep in contact with them relatively easily. Birthday blessings as your birth-month draws to a close.

Tim and Susan said...

Thanks for the fun "excuse" to just hang out and visit with others...something we rarely make time for here on the field. Happy Birthday!!

Wendy said...

Thanks Tim and Susan. I'm glad you enjoyed it too. You're right, we don't very often just socialise!