When you think of big moments in your life, you generally connect them to your own memories of those events. Time has a funny way of impacting those memories, but we still have moments in time that are almost “frozen” in our minds. We can remember particular smells, colors, conversations or even what people were wearing, because those big moments are etched in stone.
The biggest moment of my life is not one of those moments -- I literally remember nothing of that day! A lot of people recall great details of the day, my mom especially will probably never forget that moment. Me? It’s like it didn’t happen except that there is absolute evidence that it did. No matter how hard I try, no matter how many pictures I look at, I cannot recall a single detail about the events of that day.
The facts of the day are clear: On May 24, 1974 I was born. True story.
I was a plump child (so I’ve been told!) and I held on to that stoutness for a few years. But my mom says, that generally, I was a pretty easy child to take care of. Classic third born in that sense (can I get a hearty “Amen” from my third-born brethren and sisteren?!).
No matter your story today, it started the same as mine -- with the gift of life. There is no greater gift for anyone, than the gift of personhood; the gift of being. But like all great gifts, it’s what you do with it that gives it value to you and to those around you.
And that’s why I’m starting this blog series, over the next 40 days, leading up to my 40th birthday. I want to take some time to reflect on my life, share some lessons I’ve learned, hopefully reveal some moments of victory as well as moments of loss and humbling setbacks. Statistically, 40 years is about the 1/2-way point for American males, and if that’s the case for my life, I want more than ever, to make my remaining years count for something bigger than me; something that will touch lives long after I’m gone.
Taking time to reflect on our lives is an important practice. History is a great teacher. The wisest man in the world, Solomon, wrote a book that was a reflection of a period of his life. In the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes tells Solomon’s story of what happens when a man pursues all the pleasures of life without regard for God’s standards for living. He indulged in every kind of pleasure -- concerts, crazy sexual activity, art, the making of obscene amounts of money (it was said in his day that silver was like the dust of the ground -- it was worthless because of all the gold flowing through his kingdom!), the making of great structures, possession of the world’s greatest treasures and books, parties with the wealthiest people in the world, holding court with kings and queens and enjoying every kind of alcoholic beverage he could make or buy.
At the end of it all, Solomon realized what a waste he had made of about 20 years of his life. “Meaningless” was how he described this period of his kingship. In fact, in the book of Proverbs, he pleads with his son not to follow down the path he had made for himself chasing after:
Meaningless sex. Meaningless parties. Meaningless houses. Meaningless life.
He says don’t chase after those things because they won’t sustain you.
The point is that by reflecting on his life, Solomon realized the error(s) of his thinking. I hope he made course corrections even at the end of his life, and it serves as a reminder to me -- I need to evaluate and make course corrections in my life, too. 40 is a big marker, and if this is indeed the half-way point of my life, I want to reflect and make sure I’m keeping my course set on the Overboard Life God has called me to.
Life is the greatest gift we’ve been given. I hope my life will be used in the pursuit of the things that matter most and the people that God has put within my grasp.
Thanks for joining me on this journey over the years, and thanks for following along on this 40 day blogging experience, leading up to my 40th birthday. Please join the conversation with your comments and questions. Please share your stories. Most of all, may we all be challenged to step out of the comfort of the boat, and in faith in the Great Giver of Life, may we all walk on water with Jesus.
1 down, 39 to go.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water.