Over spring break Cindy, her mother and I made a quick trip down to my wife’s sister and husband’s home in Jasper, Alabama. This past weekend marked Sonya’s 50th birthday! That’s a significant milestone, isn’t it? I remember vividly those big markers that end in zero, particularly 40 and 50. Come to think of it, 30 was a biggie! Like signs on the highway, they seem to come up fast and go by even quicker.
But I’m thankful—grateful for getting older given the alternative. Life is quick, but it is good. At least most of the time. It has its fair share of ups and downs, dips and curves. In fact, one can find himself in the ditch occasionally.
Not unlike the spiritual life. There’s plenty of frustration to be found, more questions than answers, incomplete sentences than simple statements. The fact is you and I can get stuck along the spiritual journey and wonder why the Christian life isn’t all it was cracked up to be. Some of us may be feeling that right now.
If I might add my two cents—the goal of the journey isn’t knowing more or doing more religious stuff than other people, or even having a pain-free, worry-free life. It’s easy to get confused about this. I’d like to suggest that life really is a gift. Pure and simple, short or long, spot and wrinkle—it’s a gift. Along with it comes the opportunity to reset our sights on the greatest goal anyone could ever have—to embrace life and others in it like Jesus did. In fact to live like he did, in whatever years we have, is life’s greatest goal.
I have this dream that one day there’s going to be this funeral where I’m the silent guest. My kids and grandkids gather round and talk about how I knew how to challenge them in love, comfort them with truth, and celebrate them with such joy. My wife and co-workers describe all the ways they saw my character change for the better through the years. My friends spin stories of how in love with God I seemed, how I was able to find his hand in everything, even amidst the hurts, the losses, the unanswered questions. There are people with whom I sacrificed and brought my gifts to help and even a few old enemies with whom I had somehow reconciled.
It’s just a dream really, a vision I hold because I’m still so far from being a man like that. But I want to get there. I’m 53 years old. 60 will be here as quickly as the next exit on an interstate highway. That’s life. And I’m on the journey because the prize I seek more than others is to live a life of love – like Jesus.
How about you?