The other night, while dining at a purely charming neighborhood outdoor patio restaurant, I was struck by the deep joy and authentic spirit of friendship of the five men dining next to us. I was enjoying a romantic dinner for two, yes it was a date – 2nd to be exact – those details for another blog entry, when I shared with my date how I was deeply moved by how much these men represented the highest hopes of what deep friendship and community offered. As the men sat two by two with the fifth at the head of their table facing us there was a few moments of “selfies” and group photos and it just felt like a celebration of each other by and for each other.

As humans, our greatest need is to be seen, accepted and validated. And in this sweet moment, we witnessed the man, sitting at the end of the table, experience just that when the waiter and a few staff walked out with a piece of cake with a candle and began singing “Happy Birthday”. His fellow friends encouraged the entire restaurant to join them in singing and before you knew it the entire patio of 50+ had joined them briefly in a unified moment of pure joy and celebration. You could see and feel a gift of LOVE being delivered into this man’s heart.

As we all returned to our meals and our conversations this simple act of honoring this man and the moment of celebrating his birth reminded me of how much I love and honor everyone’s birthdays. This is YOUR day! This is YOUR New Year! And in those moments when we make a call, send a card or a text, post a greeting on Facebook we stop and honor someone in our life.

Years ago I received a “Birthday Date Book” and I fill it with friends’ names and their birth year so I can always look at the top of each month of whose lives I get to celebrate in the days ahead.

If only once a year – reach out, shout out, and maybe even sing letting someone know that they have been seen, accepted, validated and LOVED!

P.S. Happy Birthday Billy as I found myself writing this memory on this YOUR Birthday!