Tomorrow, I will turn 45. Forty did not seem like a big deal to me, but 45 does not feel so comfy. I guess it’s too close to fifty. Even though I know that we are not promised tomorrow, I know that 1/2 my life is surely over – maybe more.
As much as I try to keep my mind and my heart on the things that matter – eternal things, I have to admit that I am bothered by the effects of gravity which I know will only get worse with time. I’m bothered by my slightly weathered hands and my blotchy face. The lines around my eyes don’t bother me as much as the sags and the obnoxious peach fuzz on my skin. I do battle the effects of time, as we all do, though somewhat fruitlessly. It’s disappointing and humbling. Humility is a good thing, right?
When I started teaching, 21 years ago, I was the young one on campus. The kids liked me because I knew their televisions shows, their movies, their music. I was almost a kid myself. Now, I’m not the young, pretty one on campus. We have a new crop of beautiful, passionate, young teachers. The kids adore them. I no longer am familiar with all that my students watch and listen to, but neither do I want to know it. I’ve turned a corner.
Now, I’ve graduated to the “seasoned,” middle-aged group. I hate that word, “seasoned.” I worry about becoming too old for my message to be heard and respected when I teach. I worry about the hot flashes that will soon ensue. I’ll know I’ve reached the point of no return when I look out over a sea of students wearing fleece in August, because my room has become an icebox, just so that I can tolerate it. I’m not liking these thoughts!
More importantly, I look back over my life. I wonder, as a parent, if I’ve done all that I can to foster the spiritual, moral, mental and educational growth of my children. I’d have to say “No.” I’ve done pretty well, but I could have done better. I could say that the limitations of my body, and lack of energy have been my downfall, but being caught up in this world, and lack of motivation have played an equally important role. Have I made spiritual matters first in my life? Sometimes I gave 110%, sometimes a lame 50%, sometimes pitifully less.
So, would I go back if given the opportunity? You could not pay me to go back! I cherish the memories and the many chapters in my life, and wouldn’t trade them for anything – well, most anyway. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been right now at 44.
The forties have brought a feeling of self acceptance and assuredness. At last, I can (respectfully) speak my mind and know that what I have to say is of value. I have experience on my side. My relationship with God has matured to a deeper level as well. Years ago, I was more quiet about my spirituality, for fear of what others would think. Now, I don’t really care if anyone thinks I’m a “Jesus Nut.” I’m proud to say that I am! I really love Him, and want everyone to experience that joy as well.
Each day, I am one step closer to eternity. It becomes more and more important to me to get it right – to live in this world, but not be of this world – to store up treasures in heaven rather than here on earth. Here’s the gospel for tomorrow, June 17th, 0011:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
“The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.” Matthew 6:19-23
May God’s Peace surround you this day!