Now Entering “My Golden Ages”

50On Sunday, I entered the second half of my first century and celebrated my fiftieth birthday.  For some reason that I cannot really explain, this milestone in my journey of life feels to me like a checkpoint, like a high vantage point where I can see all the places through which I have passed.  Instead of focusing on all the wonderful experiences I have had during my travels, my thoughts for the last few months have gravitated upon all the places I thought I’d have gone but never reached.  I thought I’d be a home-owner, be successful in my chosen career and be financially stable with some savings for retirement.  I must have been distracted when I drove past all those exits on the highway of my life.

I feel as if I have fallen victim to the theological truth expressed by John Lennon:

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

At various times I wanted to be a school teacher, a lawyer, a financial planner and a bank vice-president.  Instead, I became a Baptist minister and in the process taught children during vacation Bible school, became an expert in the Law of Moses, managed charitable funds and offered insights on how to store up treasures in heaven.  I want to ask myself if I have been successful, but I think that is the wrong question.  Have I used the gifts, talents and abilities I have been blessed with to the best of my ability?  From this vantage point I can say that it is likely.

I wanted to have sufficient disposable income to travel the world – to see the Grand Canyon, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Sydney Opera House.  While I have been to Tijuana, the Bahamas, more than half of the US states and a few places in Canada, my greatest memories are insignificant spots.  There is an outdoor chapel in my hometown with my fingerprints on it.  There is a restaurant, no doubt now closed, in Worcester where I asked Jeanine to marry me.  There were four delivery suites at Brigham and Women’s where the loves of my life took their first breaths.  There were trips the Disney, Lakeside, Shawme Crowell, and a hotel in Chattanooga where the kids acted like prairie dogs.  I want to ask myself why I haven’t seen more, but I think that is the wrong question.  Have I seen the things and the places that matter?  From this vantage point I can say that it is likely.

I wanted to have my own house.  That will likely never happen and that is okay with me.  I have become the beneficiary of something better – I have been given a home.  I have lived in seven houses in my life and every one of them has been a home; I have always lived in a place of love and laughter, a place crammed with family and friends and fun.  I don’t need a deed or a mortgage to give my life meaning.  I have a home filled with loved ones and lovely memories for that.

All in all, I thank God for the way the first fifty years have developed.  These days were much better than I would have planned.  And now I cannot wait for what He will reveal in the next fifty years.

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way….  Psalm 37:23 (ESV)


4 responses

  1. I read your story of your life and fully understand what you say. God has always been the most important thing in your life. I too have always wondered why he has not giving you many of the things that others including myself have. There has never been an answer, I have prayed for you and your family for many years. My life has been inriched. By you so many times. I am sure there will be many crowns in heaven that you will be able to lay at Jesus feet. You have given your children the priveldge of going to the best schools, and possibly great futures because you stayed in a church where God has used you. All that I has is nothing compared to the help you gave me one night in the wee hours when you helped me deal with a broken heart as my church split. I have traveled many places but never for God, We must always remember what is done for God is all that will remain when we are face to face with Jesus. You have many more years ahead of you, How many young people including my children and grandchildren. Will remember what you taught in bible school. How many will come to a place in their life when they give their life to Christ and will look back to that day when you prayed for their salvation. I was 8 years old when I attended bible school and 32 when I realize Jesus gave me a life. The person who was responsible was an Aunt that brought me to bible school. God gave me life through her. Jesus is still there for you next half of your life, He will provide for you as he has in the last half. All that I had is past I live in someone else’s home, A roof over my head, there is a place for you where ever you go, but the promise of the next life is so much more then this earth. Sorry to go on so long, I love you and your family so much and hope this helps you. In Christ. Helen

    1. Thank you for these words. Our friendship is a blessing.

  2. Desmond Campbell | Reply

    I take courage from your outlook and also realize that it was the guiding and saving hand of our creator God that is why we are still standing. God continue to bless you my friend.

    1. Thank you Desmond. May God bless you, too.

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