Happy Birthday, Alhamdulillah

Birthdays don’t mean anything other than that which we ascribe to them, but they serve as a useful milestone for reflecting on change, growth, status and so on, whilst also giving us pause for thought about our direction and our future. So in the tradition of past birthday posts, I’m going to reflect briefly on the above.

Alhamdulillah, things have never been better on a personal level. My family continues to fill me with joy. My friends are truly generous, loyal and supportive. My colleagues inspire me with their talents, their courtesy and their friendship. I cannot say enough good things about my wife and kids. They are truly magnificent, just the most wonderful people a man could ever ask for in his life. My cup runneth over.

My health is as good, if not better, than at any time in my life. My weight is spectacularly heading back to the lows of a decade ago. The kidney disease that threatened me in 1997 has receded, miraculously. 14 years on from that fateful diagnosis and my creatinine levels are in normal range. My thyroid is fine. My eyes are fine. I have strong foot pulses. My HbA1c is heading in the right direction, finally in the 7% ballpark. My fitness has improved dramatically and I regularly play table tennis at a good level for an hour and a half. I can walk for miles with no discomfort. I can take the stairs up 10 flights and not be finished at the top. Alhamdulillah for all this.

My home is serene. Even the once noisy neighbours have piped down. The respect I have from my working network is humbling. To use the modern parlance, check out the love I get on LinkedIn. I look at that from time to time and wonder if my colleagues, past and present, are talking about a different, mythical person.

My faith, now in its 8th year, continues to be the source of peace and harmony, providing a rock on which the rest of my life continues to grow and develop as I look on in amazement at the countless blessings. Two of my close friends from my Qadiani days have joined me in Islam and are flourishing. I have great relationships with many wonderful Muslims from all over the world. They inspire and motivate me. I hear story after story after story of people unwittingly trapped in the Qadiani Ahmadiyya cult coming back to Islam and I am gratified and grateful. Guidance comes from Allah alone.

After hardship, there is ease. And of course, if hardship comes again, as it does, I will, insha’Allah accept it as part of the pattern of life and still say alhamdulillah.

So yes, whilst birthdays mean nothing in themselves, and with the deepest humility in light of all the suffering in the world and through the lens of my past, personal suffering, a very, very, very happy 46th birthday to me.