Whoa! I just turned 39 years old this week. Almost the BIG ONE. . . . but not quite. It gets me thinkin’ a bit.
I have enjoyed 39 summers of swimming and playing in the sun. 39 Spring breaks – some in the waves, and some on the slopes. I have heard the Happy Birthday song at least 39 times. Throughout the years, I have shared 39 birthday dinners with the people I consider my closest friends and family. I have also celebrated 39 of my mom’s birthdays with her – well OK, only 38 if you don’t count that year that she got upset and thought we hadn’t planned anything. I have experienced 39 football seasons – at first sitting in my dad’s lap in front of the TV, and later I got a play a few seasons, and then I cheered for my brother’s team some seasons, and other seasons I was just oblivious to it all. I have opened 39 Christmas stockings with excitement and anticipation. I have heard my mom and dad ask the same question at the Thanksgiving table 39 times – the years I wasn’t at their table, I still heard them asking it. I remember when my dad could beat me at the best video game ever invented (PacMan) and when I collected a whole set of “Empire Strikes Back” cards from the dime store. I was in High School when the shuttle blew up the first time, and I remember when you used to have to “dial” a phone number. I took computer classes in the summer on an Apple 2E and “keyboarding” was not an elective I could take (It was called “typing” back then.) I remember paying less than $1 for a gallon of gas, but it was only 35 cents/gallon on the day I was born. You could buy a house for $28,000 back then and a car for $3,400.
Since 2003, I will also always associate my birthday with another date – Sept 7, Miranda’s birthday. On Sept 7, 2003 I was given the greatest birthday gift of my life – Miranda said “Yes” to my proposal. We were married a few months later on Jan 3, 2004. These last few years with her have been the best years of my life, and this past year, with Kasen too. . . no question – the best.
Of course my birthday also will always be most remembered by the world for the tragedy of Sept 11, 2001 when terrorists attacked the world trade centers. This year, it will also be remembered by many Houstonians as evacuation day for Hurricane Ike.
All of this is a little surreal to think about. It’s strange to think that I’ve been blessed with this much life – the good, the bad, the joy, the pain, the change. . . .yes, the change. All of it is life. And what did I actually do with all of it? Did I truly drink in those great moments, allowing myself to feel the weight of God’s love in the gift of life? How did I spend each of those 39 spring breaks? How much of that time have I wasted? How much has been wasted on selfish living and garbage thinking? If I have 39 more years, will I spend them more wisely? Will I get to the end of life and wonder if my time was spent well? What other events will shape my life?
Lord, I thank You for life. It’s been an amazing life! I feel like it’s only the begining, but I don’t want to miss this opportunity to recognize Your work so far. You have given me so much life – too much to even recognize – certainly more than a sinner like me deserves, I’m so grateful for Your grace, this gift. And especially the gift of Your son, Jesus who has made it possible for me to even speak to You. He was the payment for my adoption into Your family. Thank you. Thank you for Jesus, for my bride, and my boy, and this child to come. Thank you for my family and my in-laws for my friends and for the church. Thank you for the experiences and opportunities You’ve given me and for creating me as I am. Thank you for life – for 39 years and for those to come. AMEN.