I celebrated my 50th birthday yesterday. And although I feel absolutely fantastic, it’s a little surreal to realize that I have been on earth for half a century. Wow..
Just to give you some perspective, I was born at the peak of the civil rights movement. When I was as in third grade, Columbo was the #1 crime drama, my brothers went nuts over the original Batman television series starring Adam West (Tuesday and Thursday nights on ABC, same bat-time, same bat-channel), sneakers were a choice between Keds and Converse and no one had even heard of Levis.
Time has moved so fast that it seems like just yesterday that I experienced my first kiss, went to prom and was over the moon about turning 21. And so I’m shaking my head now, as I take that bitter-sweet glance over my shoulder at the fleeting years…surveying what I’ve done, who I’ve become and what life has taught me.
In retrospect, I’ve indeed suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. But I have also laughed till I peed my pants. I have seen the rise of good and its certain fall, the rewriting of history and events that mere words can’t explain. Years ago, I would never have believed possible some of the things that I have endured since my youth. In fact, my life has been a case study in survival—like running with scissors—fast, dangerous, exciting, terrifying and exhilarating all at once. I’ve known life, death, struggle, revival, joy, then pain, then more struggle, life, death and on and on; I have lived the fluidity of life’s cycles, it’s here today gone tomorrow scenarios and all the perpetual inflection of change. And I’m still standing, because I keep getting up!
Through this, I have learned that nothing in this world is permanent, nothing at all. As the world around us changes, so must we. It’s the way that Heaven works to achieve its lofty goals. We can’t control how and when God intervenes in our lives to complete His purpose, all we can do is surrender to it and hope that we don’t hinder the movement of God’s Divine Hand. (His will)
And what has His hand revealed to me over the years?
1. Love hard – The alternative is ungodly
2. Spend time with those you love– You never know when the clock will stop
3. Never confuse your career with your life – One is paid in dollars, the other is paid in time (eternity)
4. Give people a break – you don’t know their story.
5. Embrace your every experience – the most rewarding journeys answer questions you never thought to ask
6. Loosen up and surrender to change: it will break you if you don’t
7. Be real – God can spot a fake an infinity away
So, there you have it; my musings upon turning a half-century old. It all boils down to the art of resisting the impulse to pray to God against His own hand, and instead, simply flowing in agreement with it.
Sure, I’ve got a couple dents in my fender from all the twists and turns. But truth is, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it any other way. You see, thus far, my life has birthed in me the spirit of a true survivor—not because I’m still alive, but because I’m living.
My first half century has been a wonderfully wild and exciting ride. And as for the future, yes, I pray for the best, as we all do, but I know now that I have no idea what that best is. And so, while my hope is that I continue learning, my prayer is this, “Holy God, may Your Great Name be honored in my life, and may Your Will be accomplished here on Earth, as it is in Heaven.”
What more than this can any of us ask?
So, thank you all, both near and far who are wishing me a Happy Birthday. The greatest birthday present I can ever receive is knowing that I am loved, and I that I am by God’s hand, passing on wisdom that I myself have received—the lessons of a survivor. I cannot ask for anything more.
I pray for all of you… God’s richest blessing for your life!