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Monday, June 30, 2008

Fifty-Three

I am suppose to be in a meeting right now. I'm going to be late. Today I am fifty-three years old and I have decided to take advantage of my new found maturity (no laughing) and get there when I get there. Besides, they'll be better off without me.

I've been thinking about this whole "53" thing. It shouldn't bother me. And it doesn't. But it does have me thinking. Not so much about the future. I've been thinking about the past. It has been a very good past.

In those 53 years I have managed to get somewhat educated. I managed to do the usual things young Americans do. You know. Survive Kindergarden. Drive a car. Date. Get married. Have children. Figure out a direction in which to point my life. It's all worked.

But here's the real deal. As I look back I see very, very few decisions that I would change if I could. And the ones I see are so minor that they really would not have much of a bearing on my today if I were to be able to change them.

God blessed my childhood with parents who loved me and a brother who didn't kill me. (Though he tried.)

God gave me the wife of my dreams. I am still amazed when I wake up every morning at her love and faithfulness to me. I could not be more serious about this. I think there are times that I tested her resolve on these issues but she has NEVER failed. Not once. How many men can honestly say that? (I love you, Debbie. Deeply. Passionately. Permanently.)

My kids are tremendous. They are not exactly mini-remakes of me. They all have brains and plans and the ability to chart out their own lives. The thing is, they are all going in the right directions. They love God. Two of them have taken mates and the third is about too. And the mates they have taken are beyond ... way beyond ... anything a dad could have dreamed for his kids. Not once have I looked at any of them and said, "Ooops. Maybe that was not the best decision and choice." And their spouses (and almost-spouse) even seem to love and accept me. Warts and all.

I have the world's best granddaughter. She gives me hugs. Deep, huge hugs. And when a month or two goes by and she doesn't see me because we live over 500 miles apart ... well, I show up with a bit of concern that she will have forgotten this particular grandpa. And you know what she does? When she sees me she smiles and walks right to me. And then she melts into my arms and we hug and hug and hug. And in her hugs there is peace. The peace of knowing that God is still at work in this world because He produced someone like her.

I have friends that I do not deserve. Two of them just spent the weekend here in our apartment visiting Debbie and I. Stephanie and Eric are this early 30's couple that we got to know well when I pastored in Illinois. They are great people. And for some reason they have decided to allow this 50-something couple to just be real long-term friends with them. Why would they do that? I have no idea. But I am so glad because I love them so much. (Eric and Stephanie, if you are reading this ... thanks.) Beyond that there are many more friends and I am deeply grateful and amazed by them all.

What do I have to complain about? I have a God who loves me and sees after my every need. He listens to me when I need to talk to Him. He puts food on my table. And He puts gas in my car so that I can keep up with this long distance family and the obligations I find on my plate each day. Best of all he has guaranteed my future with Him forever. In His house. And, my friend, that is nothing to dread.

So I plan on enjoying 53. And I plan on looking forward to 54. There is just nothing to dread. And the reason? Because my Heavenly Father loves me. And He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for my sins so that I can be forgiven and live a life with Him forever. Nobody ... not the fiercest enemy ... can take that from me.

So, Father in heaven, thank you. Thank you for 53 years of untold goodness. Thank you for amazing love and amazing grace. Thank you for accepting me unconditionally because of the sacrifice of Your Son. Thank you for today. Can we spend it together?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!!! :-)

God Bless!!

diane

Earth Muffin said...

Happy birthday! Say hi to the Mrs. for me.

heresthediehl said...

Happy Birthday, Ron. Great post, too :)

Lauren E. said...

Happy Happy Birthday.