Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Reflections after a July Birthday

Turning 38 years old is really rather anti-climactic. It's not close to any milestones. 35 was the benchmark for being in your mid-thirties. 40 will be a graduation of sorts into a new season of "grown ups." But 38 has no distinguishable and special marks to it. Its that phase which merely come between other significant events. As people, we often like to attempt rising above attachment to our age - teens want to be much older, elders want to be much younger, etc. But really, we cannot escape that our age and season of life affects our outlook. In like manner, my time in seminary seems like a season which is "in between." On the one hand this can be frustrating, feeling as though nothing significant is presently launching out of my life. I choose, however, to view it with a sense of anticipation, looking forward to whatever comes next.

Whatever comes next...

Is anticipation such a vital characteristic to the life of faith? Does faith dictate that one always be looking forward?

I suspect that for many men, mid-life crisis are born of a tendency to look back and make evaluations about how far they have come, or think they should have come by their age in life. They peer back over the panorama of their life and despair over the difference between where that thought they would be, in terms of significance, by that age and where they actually are. Instead of deciding to simply press on toward that place of significance that they think calls out to them, they dwell on that place of significance that has eluded them until now. Its the pain of that despair which drives them to seek out the anesthetics of hot rods, gold chains and trophy wives.

On the one hand I am grateful for having been spared such extreme tendencies; on the other hand I know that I am not immune to them either. On this my 38th birthday, the birthday "in between," I am grateful for those aspects of my life in which God has allowed me to taste the sweet savor of significance such that I have plenty to anticipate for the future. In this way, I am blessed to have some idea of what can be anticipated as the life of faith continues.

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