I am older now.
Of course I recognize that aging doesn’t just happen annually but birthdays have a way of pointing it out.
It fascinates me how our culture’s emphasis on 5’s and 10’s make arriving at certain years a milestone event. You’re turning 40? That’s a big deal. 50? Definitely worth celebrating being alive that long. Or, perhaps for some, a desire to deny it’s possible to have become that old.
There are a host of emotional responses to this process.
I recall hitting 25 as being significant. (Yes, I can remember that far back!) Our first son had arrived six weeks prior to me reaching the quarter-century mark. I woke up thinking, “I am no longer a young adult. I am going to have to be responsible now for the rest of my life.” It was a heavy ‘good morning’.
Little did I realize at the time how much joy there is in being a grown up. There have certainly been challenges and times where the whimsy of childhood has had strong appeal. But, I rarely recall wishing I could go back and be a teenager again.
Not all of my memorable birthdays have corresponded to “big years”. I turned 39 in the midst of the nine-week, tag-team Chicken Pox affair of our three boys. That one may have echoed back to the 25 crisis.
There was also the year – I don’t recall which– that my sweet husband and pre-school sons brought me breakfast in bed. Unfortunately, no one mentioned to them that you can’t cook eggs-in-shells in the microwave. Evidence of that celebration remained on the ceiling for ages.
So how does it feel to be 52? A lot like it did to be 51. But marking the day of my birth this week has brought me back to a place of deep gratitude to the Lord for the life I have. I do not take for granted how God has consistently cared for our family, provided healing, given joy – even in difficult seasons – and sustained us.
The Bible is full of references to remembering, recalling, looking back on. I particularly appreciate the visual description of stones of remembrance - individual rocks piled together to mark God’s faithfulness and provisions. I have a towering stack, and this week added one more.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst