July 25, 2019: Cross in the Clouds, Charleston SC

My Birthday Reflections… Thinking Back & Forward

0-9 – The age of unconditional family acceptance and oblivion.

10-16 – The age of the social challenge of adapting to conditional acceptance by peers.

17-21 – The age of selfish endeavors. Parental separation achieved via rebellion against rules and authority, while collecting consequences from errant choices. It is a time of seeking-behaviors driven by a sense of incompleteness and identity confusion.

22+ – The age of reality sinking in.  No you can’t be whoever you want to be or do whatever you want to do.  Wealth earned, is not just hard work, it’s luck.  Wealth unearned, is all luck.

28+ – The age of decision making; to jump on the one-way roller coaster or to opt for social, occupational, and/or relational dysfunction.

30-44 – The age of careers; opinions sought after, opportunities for growth at peak, ample energy to multi-task between work, families, and societal contributions.

45+ – The age of changing vision:  change in eyesight being the first evidence of body decay requiring the reach for the reading glasses – but – vision/perspective of life improves.  You can see the roller coaster and feel the burn out beginning. You recognize that younger 30-44 year olds are getting more opportunities and you are okay stepping back for the first time as your priorities shift to your quickly growing children and your aging parents. You can see the cycle of life in action.

49-55 – The age of urgency to address and complete unfinished life goals; maximize savings, travel while healthy.

56-60 – This is the age of questions without answers. A time to internally wrestle with life’s priorities; career achievements vs enjoyment of family and friends. Each day becomes more precious as you see friends get ill and die prematurely around you. You realize that there are no accurate predictions how long you will last. You realize you may be saving for a tomorrow that never comes, but to underestimate your longevity can mean you end your life in poverty.

60+ The age of appreciation. You become more observant of nature and are wowed easily by the unique creations of God; from animals to reptiles, to fish to rocks, to blue skies with amazing clouds, to the consistency of the seasons. It is why grandparents enjoy taking grandchildren on outings.

62+ You realize that the world will continue on when you are gone, just like it did when you said farewell to your loved ones.  That nature won’t miss a beat, or take a pause, like waves of an ocean that continues to rush, endlessly to the shore.  We recognize we are not indispensible to this world, in fact, everything we have said, written, done, sung, performed, achieved, earned – is in fact meaningless under the sun.  

70+ I have no idea, only the perspective offered by my dad.  Grateful for everyday. Plan like you have a tomorrow. Try really hard to be the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Our ultimate destiny is heaven, with a God who offers grace to us to enter the kingdom bereft of our sinful human character, with the privilege of laying our offerings, crowns from service in his name and for his glory, at his feet in return.

One day, we will all get an opportunity to thank God in person for his blessings to us while we lived on earth.

For his sustenance: food, clothing, shelter

For his love: via compassion, tolerance, patience, presence – directly from him and indirectly through others from God.

For his peace: in the form of freedom from guilt, shame, or fear of eternal separation from God, because of his sacrifice providing forgiveness.

For his joy: stemming from having a purpose on this earth knowing we are His children and because we never need to feel alone once the spirit indwells us.