Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some Birthday Reflections

How is one supposed to feel when one turns 37?

I'm not sure what that feeling is supposed to entail?

I do know that the average life expectancy for men in the U.S. is around 75 or so which means I'm close to having lived almost half of my expected life span.

Does that frighten me?

Not necessarily.

As a church member once said, "I'm not afraid to die.  I just don't want to do it right now."

After losing nearly 40 lbs. last year, I do feel good.  I feel like I'm in my 20's.  There is a little pain in my hip--I think it's there because of the strain I put on it last year walking on uneven roads.  I'm a little more tired than usual, but I chalk that up to being a parent.  Otherwise, I can still keep up with things pretty well.

There is a part of me which continues to have a bit of a mid-life crisis.  I still long for a sports car, but my brain is continually fighting my heart, especially since I have three children's future to plan for.  At this point, the children are winning.

I am thankful for my job and the community in which I live.  These are some good, solid folks around here.  I enjoy being with them and learning about them immensely.  They have fascinating stories to tell.  It would take a lifetime just to uncover the wealth of wisdom many of them have.

I have come to the realization that I will not change the world.  I'll make a difference in the lives of a few folks here and there, but when I am laid six feet under, the world will remain pretty much as it is. 

Now, that's not to say I'm not going to quit trying to change the world.  I still see too much hatred, too much hunger, too much grief, too much anxiety.  However, I have come to understand I have limits.  I can't be all things to all people.  I can't get rid of hunger.  I can't eliminated poverty.  To do such things, I would have to somehow eradicate sin itself.  Not possible.  There is only One who can do that.

I have come to the point where I am comfortable with the fact not everyone agrees with my point of view, and I welcome them to have their own perspectives.  However, I only ask they do not try to impose their points of view upon me.  I do ask for respectful conversation and articulation of one's perspective, and if you are right and I chew on it long enough, I'll be swayed to your point of view.

I've learned enough to know there's a whole lot more to learn in life, and I will never, ever come close to learning it all.  And I've learned that sometimes, it's good to be ignorant.

I've learned to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches.  There's a lot of stuff I can't control, so I don't sweat it.  I've learned to remain firm in my convictions amidst the storms of life--yet, there is a part of me which realizes I'll have to take each storm as it comes.  You never know how you will react until the winds are blowing around you and battering you to a pulp.  I've made it through a few, but I'm smart enough to know, just because you made it through one doesn't mean you'll have the same luck the next go round.

I've learned to appreciate quiet and the slower pace of life in the country.  I'd rather live slowly and do a few meaningful things than run around at warp speed and do many things.  It's more fun to savor what you are doing than always looking ahead to all the other dates on the calendar.

I've begrudgingly acknowledged God gives me what I need instead of what I want--see sports car (2011 Ford Mustang GT Convertible, winning the lottery, etc.).  His wisdom far surpasses mine, even when I think otherwise.  I've begrudgingly acknowledged that I will probably never become famous.  Even pastors have fantasies of people traveling hundreds of miles to come and hear them preach, of auditoriums filled with thousands of the faithful to hear their words of wisdom, and books published and riding high on the best seller lists.  But I begrudgingly acknowledge such thoughts are not about serving the one who called me, but rather serving myself.  I'm pretty sure if such a thing were to actually happen to me, I'd be more interested in enjoying the attention than actually focusing on the One I'm supposed to be pointing to.  Therefore, I will probably remain a country preacher for the rest of my career.

I don't know what the future will hold, actually.  I try to plan for it, but I ultimately realize, my life is not my own.  It belongs to my Heavenly Father, and I am called to serve Him.  He might see fit one day to take me from this place of calm and put me somewhere else.  I hope that won't happen for quite some time, but I have little control over that.  He's given me quite a bit in these first 37 years.  I can only wonder what He has in store down the road.

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