Birthdays have always been a relatively big deal in my family. There was always a party, cake, presents, a fun activity. But this was my first year in college in living away from my parents (although not that far away), and the first year where I spent almost my entire birthday with people who didn’t know me and didn’t know or care that it was my birthday.
I was old enough that this wasn’t too devastating, the way it would have been as a child, but it was a little lonely.
So as I was driving home from class and feeling sorry for myself, I got caught in a big line of traffic behind a truck; the kind that has a screen on the back for various advertisements.
But this one didn’t have an advertisement on it. It said “Happy Birthday!” I’m sure the people driving the truck didn’t know who I was or that it was my birthday, but God knew, and was showing me his love in the only way I would notice.
It’s a small, silly, thing, feeling as though God were wishing me “happy birthday,” but isn’t it these small, random acts of kindness that loved ones do for each other to show they care? Swami Kriyananda said that the more we live for God, the more we will see him taking of us, even in the smallest ways.
I should say that at that point in my life, I was following the yogic path, although I hadn’t found a guru yet, so this small message of encouragement was particularly inspiring; showing me that I was going in the right direction.
In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda tells his sister that Divine Mother gives him whatever he asks. She doesn’t believe him, and asks him to prove it by making two kites comes towards him that children are playing with below their house. When the kites change course and come to him, she is astounded.
This is the soul’s natural relationship with God. Not one of a distant judge punishing us for every wrongdoing, but a loving, playful relationship, like a dear friend we have known since childhood. It seems like God is so hard to find, but maybe the difficulty is that we do not feel worthy, that we are judging ourselves and mistakenly thinking that God is judging us, when all He wants is for us to love Him.