My Birthday Blog!
I turn 60 this week. (I know I don’t look a day over 59 but it’s true.) It’s been quite a ride, an epic journey, as it were. Maybe not worthy of Homeric elegy but pretty great if I do say so myself.
The stickers on my well-worn suitcase testify to the wanderlust that has marked my adult life. I have sailed Lake Superior, cruised Lake Victoria, canoed on the Amazon and dangled my toes in the Colorado River. I have driven onto a train that took my friend and I through the chunnel across the English Channel, taken the metro through Paris, cried through a harrowing van ride in darkest Africa and delighted in an RV trip through the highlands of Scotland. I have also pushed a less than Greyhound bus out of the muck and mire in the middle of the night in Bolivia and stood on the pitching deck of a ferry crossing the English Channel. I have been to the top and the bottom of the Grand Canyon (hiked in and out on the same day), stood wide-eyed at the fence separating our naval base from Castro’s Cuba, and perched precariously on a rock that purports to be the Source of the Blue Nile. Let’s not forget the many convertible rides, one from North Carolina to Canada! Oh the places I have been!
For the past few months I have been on a different kind of journey, a nostalgic stroll down memory lane. The journey has not been a longing for a do-over or a trip down the rabbit-hole of regret. It has been just the opposite in fact. It has been a truly sacred journey of thanksgiving. “I’ve been so many places in my life and times.” (Is that a Carpenter’s song? Yes, I am that old.) In Psalm 31 the Psalmist reminds us that our times are in His hands. (Can’t you just see the All-State symbol here?) What a place of safety and security!
I am grateful for the places I’ve been but I am even more grateful for the people who have met me in places geographical and spiritual. So on this “big birthday” know that I am celebrating you. Here’s to the loonies and the lovelies, the rowdies and the reverent ones that have nurtured and challenged me. Here’s to the hell-raisers and the holy ones, the awkward and amazing ones, the wild and wonderful ones who have taught me and blessed me on my way. I will leave it to you to decide which you are. The truth is we are none of us just one of the above. We are all awkward and amazing, loony and lovely, wild and wonderful. That IS the truth of the beautiful body of Christ.
I want you to know that it is because each of you has touched my life that I am able not just to say, “Oh the place I’ve been,” but to live into the promises of God and say with a nod to Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places I’ll go.” There is a Michael Card song from long ago that pretty much sums up how I feel during this birthday week. “There is a joy in the journey; there’s a light we can love on the way. There is a wonder and wildness to life and freedom for those who obey.”