Wandering around in my memories

Tomorrow I will be 65 years of age! That seems really OLD to me. If you are 30, that seems ancient. If you are 88, it is relatively youthful. For me it means Medicare, thinking about 403(b) accounts, and reflecting on the past more often. Yes, 65 definitely feels ‘old.’  I do not generally make much of a deal about birthdays. I do make them an occasion to remember the life I’ve lived.

In 2011, when my Mom was living with us in her final days, my birthday arrived and she wanted to talk.  I sat on the edge of her bed and she told me about my birth, her first born. She married my Dad on May 28, 1954, the day after she graduated from high school. Three months later she found out she was pregnant. With a wry laugh that day, she told me that she was not at all happy that she was going to become a Mom. She choked up as she recounted how hard it was to accept the responsibility of having a baby, how she struggled to grow up so fast.

Finding out that my arrival was not an occasion for celebration was both funny and a bit unsettling on my 56th birthday. By the way, she was a good Mom … not just to me, but eventually to 13 of us; 10 adopted in the second half of her life.

My early childhood was a beautiful one, full of love, warmth, and security. Some might even say idyllic. Life centered on family and church. It took a jarring turn at age 9 when Dad entered full-time Christian ministry in New York City and we left the Iowa farm and family behind for a tiny lot in a Staten Island development. When that chapter closed we moved to NJ. Something like the life I’d known before returned.  

I was just 19 when I fell in love and a few months later married the lovely girl who was my partner in parenting and ministry for 41 years before her own untimely death 4 years ago. My richest blessings are the 4 beautiful children that God gave to us and the privilege of serving Him in His Church as a pastor to God’s people. From the age of 16, I knew that my calling was Christian ministry.

Now, when I face the future, I do so knowing that I am, once again, on the cusp of major shifts in life. It will be time to retire in the blink of an eye, what then? Only God knows, truly.

My meditation today took me to the words of Ecclesiastes. Solomon wrote these words near the end of his life. He started well, lived a life full of opportunity, took a long detour from serving God in mid-life. His words are full of cynicism and regret, but he closes with wisdom for us all. 

So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless. Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”—” (Ecclesiastes 11:8-12:1, NIV)

“However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless. Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.

Here’s how I sum it up.

Enjoy life, it’s short
There will be some dark days.
Keep in mind, while you’re young, that God will ask an accounting.
Days will come when aches and pains steal the joy.
So, serve God whole-heartedly now.

Got it, Solomon!

Thanks letting me wander around in my memories today. I’ll be taking a break tomorrow.

Lord-willing, Coffeebreak Reflection will be back on Wednesday.
Have a blessed week. Here is a word from the Word.

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.”
(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, NIV)

___________

This song has become, for me, a source of great assurance in this turbulent 2020.
Spend a few moments focused on the One who is the Way Maker, our Promise Keeper!

Way Maker

You are here moving in our midst
I worship You I worship You
You are here working in this place
I worship You I worship You

Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper,
Light in the darkness, my God that is who You are

You are here touching ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You
You are here healing ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You
You are here turning lives around
I worship You I worship You

You are here mending ev’ry heart
I worship You yeah I worship You Lord
That is who You are
That is who You are
That is who You are
That is who You are

Even when I don’t see it You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it You’re working
You never stop You never stop working
You never stop You never stop working

Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu © 2016 Integrity Music Europe (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music [DC Cook]))

CCLI License # 810055

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