You Say It’s Your Birthday….

…well it’s my birthday, too, yeah.

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will turn 44 years old. Birthdays usually provide a time for me to be introspective. By which I mean that birthdays are a time where I tend to get introspective.

I’m turning 44. And no matter my age, being the person that I am, I’m able to look around and find someone who is younger who is, in some sense, more successful than I am. People in their 30s who have important jobs someplace.

This year is a little different. Perhaps it’s because I’m almost certainly at least halfway through my life by now. Getting to 90 with my health is statistically unlikely. Perhaps it’s because I feel a little more on top of my game than I’ve felt for a while. Perhaps it’s because I have a great team of folks I work with who are in every way watching my back and working with me for a common goal. I don’t know for sure what it is.

The last time I started school with classrooms was in 1994. That was the month I met Theresa. I was 25 and had just packed everything I owned in a 1986 Subaru GL sedan (did you know that Subaru spelled backwards is U R A Bus?) and moved from Erie, Pennsylvania to outside of Greenville, SC. It was a huge change in my life, and the next 15 months brought difficulty, new jobs, partial success at school, marriage, and a baby on the way.

Right now I’m facing a really crazy next 15 months and yesterday morning I woke up disheartened and discouraged. I can’t handle this. I’m sure of it.

And my wife reminded me that I can’t. She said “you’re very good at a lot of things, but if you thought for a second that you could survive this chapter of your life by anything short of the grace of God you were wrong, and this is a reminder of it.” And after that the day got better.

So I’m turning 44. Some of the children I’ve mentioned that to think it’s pretty old. When my youngest turns 44 I’ll be 88. I’ve got quite a bit of gray in my hair and beard. I’m tired.

But I’m successful. My name is known in the Highest Court. Jesus knows me, and calls me His friend. What could the world bring to me that is worth more than that? If God knows your name…could you be more famous than that?

And 44 isn’t that old. It’s a time for new beginnings in my life, and for regrouping and moving into another chapter. A chapter that will include some new challenges and trials. And that’s pretty exciting when it’s not scary.

So tomorrow I’ll be off most of the day, studying or working on projects to get ready for school. I’ll spend some time with my wife (who just turned 39 on Monday) and with my children and we’ll try to figure out how to survive the next few weeks together.

God has been amazingly good to me. Certainly my life isn’t what I expected it would be half a lifetime ago at 22. Nor is it what I thought it would be at 33. But it is what God planned it to be before time began…and I’m thankful that He had a good plan for me, and for my family.

We’ve got a family portrait scheduled for next Thursday. I’ll post it when I have a digital copy. All 11 of us. Should be a great and fun experience and (I’m certain) life altering for the photographer who is trying to get 11 people from 0-44 to smile at the camera with sincerity at the same time. I hope he or she can lower the expectations from perfection.

Thanks for visiting the blog. It’s going to be a fun ride over the next 15 months of school, and I hope you can, through my writing, enjoy it with us. It won’t be easy, but I’ve always liked the roller coasters.

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