28

I turned 28 on the 29th of November this year. It was a simple, somewhat lonely affair, much like last year’s birthday “celebrations” (or lack of).

I was on my last night shift of 4 on the 28th leading up to the morning of the 29th, covering the intensive care unit. Whilst I kept quiet about my birthday when working on call at the Royal last year, I decided this year that I wanted to let people know. And so, I went around informing the nursing staff (and patients who were not sedated and ventilated) that “it’s my birthday!” I had wanted to treat the nurses to some food- pizza or something, but we ended up ordering Chinese takeaway and they all very kindly decided that they would chip in. When it got to midnight and the food had arrived, we pulled up some chairs and huddled around the nurses station, locked the doors to the ICU (and got the HDU nurses to watch out for matron coming round doing any spot checks), and we ate food. They also sang me a nice birthday song!

It was so nice to have this mini impromptu party in the unit. I knew that that would probably be the closest I get to having any kind of celebration this year. After all, much as I really do not want to admit it, I do not really have any friends who remember or care enough to meet me for a meal or sing a happy birthday song to me. In fact, the people I really wanted to receive wishes from have all failed me this year- HS, P-mo, Lydia. These are the last few true friends I have left in this city. If even they forget then what hope do I have of celebrating this day with the people I love? Heck, even my dad had forgotten- I had to ring him up to ask why he had not even so much as sent a text to me.

I think it is sad that I have gotten into such a state where I do not have any real friends anymore… the loud, humorous, extrovert with friends aplenty is now reduced to this- lonely and forgotten, seeking comfort from careless well-wishes politely offered by people I hardly know. I understand full well that adult friendships are particularly hard to maintain; afterall, I have lost many friends to time and distance. And so, I do try my very hardest to maintain my friendships, sending occasional texts, emails, cards and letters to the people I want to keep hold of in my life. I want people to know that I still think of them and that they are still important to me. Unfortunately, the reverse does not seem to be true. My friends have all moved on in their lives. They are so busy with their new friendships, their new husbands, new wives, new babies, new houses and new jobs. They are too busy for me.

I honestly do not think that I am a bad friend… I am open and honest, and I try and be there whenever people need me. So many people have come to me pouring out their woes about being single, about desiring non Christian men, about their struggles at work or with exams. When they come to me, I share my struggles with them. I open up my heart and show them the raw, bleeding truth of my emotions and thoughts. I relate to them, and try my best to encourage my friends in The Lord. Nevertheless, it often feels that the significance of my presence in this world is feathery light, as I am as swiftly forgotten as genies vanish in a puff of smoke. When my friends’ problems pass or when their wishes get granted, I am almost always shown to the exit doors of their lives. I honestly do not begrudge them. I fully understand that life has taken us in different directions and we are journeying with different itineraries. Yet, a tiny part of me inside just cannot help but feel so sad, so disappointed, so forgotten and lonely…

Anyway, back to the birthday story. God was remarkably good to me that night. The patients on ICU were all incredibly stable, and there were no trauma calls or ward calls all night. In fact, the bleep did not even go off once! I managed to get some shut eye that night, and was pleasantly awoken by a phone call from the W family- I heard the sound of happy children singing, and that immediately put a smile on my face. After I got home from work, I had a couple of hours sleep before heading down to the apple store in town- I was determined to get myself an iPad air, and was pleasantly surprised that I had bagged a Black Friday discount on my new gadget. I tried to ask for an extra birthday discount, but that was not so successful. I think I ended up paying about £508 for my iPad. After that, I headed home for dinner and cake. I had a nice Chinese takeaway dinner by myself that night, I drank a glass of celebratory scholer, then lit up some candles on a Victoria sponge cake from M&S. I sang my own birthday song, made a couple of wishes, and opened my birthday presents. This year, I received a card from KS, a large box of twinnings specialty teas from Joyce and SP, and the iPad air I bought myself. Although the gifts presented to me are few and small, I am ever so thankful to God for them.

Unfortunately, I think this blog post has unexpectedly morphed into a depressing cry for help and attention. I am not seeking any sympathy, just a channel to get some things off my chest. After all, nobody’s really interested in hearing my woes so I have no choice but to pour it out here. I know that God is fully aware of how I am slowly drowning in my own loneliness, and I pray that he will quickly offer a hand to pull me out of this engulfing quicksand. In the meantime, dear Lord, help me continue to trust that you will offer me rescue someday. Someday.

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