God’s grace is God’s grace. Whether it is the call to join Him in eternity, or the simple blessing of a pineapple enjoyed by the senses.
Well, that time has come. As the odometer is about to roll over, as I approach the end of my sixtieth year on this blue ball, I can look back and see God’s grace was all around me. Where I chose to contend with His grace, I was met with mercy.
It has indeed been a full life. My first memory is the shooting of JFK. I recall recording my first ride on my gold Schwinn Stingray, training wheels and all. I saw the first steps on the moon. Watergate. The fall of the Berlin Wall. Y2K. 9/11. And presently, the CoronaVirus (Booooo! Hissss).
I had some great school and employment memories, and some not so great. The challenges of growing up in a broken home have in no small part punctuated my life. Graduated from college. Got married, and said my goodbyes to both of my parents. And I have made some incredible friends along the way, whose footprints across my heart are indelible.
Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life!
As all lives have, so do I, the tears of the heart; my little red wagon is overflowing with remorse for past actions, regrets for failure to attempt, and what-ifs. But, one has said: “The years that lie behind you, with all their struggles and pains, will in time be remembered only as the way that led to your new life” (Nouwen, 1999). I suppose in part, that has been true.
But now, my eyes are little dimmer, ears a little duller, hair a bit more silver. I have a few more phantom pains, and the lines upon my face are more pronounced…
I have lived in the most favored, if not opulent land on the face of the earth. I have no lack, all of my needs have been sovereignly cared for. Yet, in my humanness, at times, I do want for more.
As I approach 60, I do realize:
My time is finite. It is limited. I know that the road ahead is shorter now than the road which I have walked. I will not be able to write every article in my head, finish every project, or get my garage in perfect order. If the curtain should fall now, I would be remiss of volumes of books intended to be read, and the scores of destinations I had hoped to reach.
My energy is finite. My energy level is on a full tank… at least in my mind, that is. Yet, it does take just a little longer to recharge the batteries, a little longer for things to heal. And yet, I know that I am still called to finish the race strong; to love God more each and every day; to nurture the Body of Christ, and to be a light to the world.
Still, I must confess that I haven’t completely “found” Kelly. It seems as though my life has both been a journey to find and walk with God, and it has been a quest in finding Kelly, and to love the Kelly who God so loved. The last one has not been easy.
I guess I am not the only one.
“Across the fields of yesterday
He sometimes comes to me,
A little lad just back from play—
The boy I used to be.
And yet he smiles so wistfully
Once he has crept within,
I wonder if he hopes to see
The man I might have been.” …… (From the poem Sometimes by Thomas S. Jones Jr., 1913)
As I said, it wasn’t how I thought it would be, but, I move forward…
What’s on the menu for the balance of my days? What is the trajectory of my life? To make money? To serve in a particular ministry? To travel to destinations unknown? To live in a certain locale? Where will I set the coordinates of the last years of life? What is on the bucket list? I am still trying to pull all of that together, to walk in the grace set before me, and savor pineapples every day.
Do I have a purpose? … Yes!
What am I most passionate about? … Shepherding.
How is that purpose meant to be fulfilled, specifically? Always Calculating…
Life is precious; the gift of life has been exceedingly great… more than one could hope for, or deserve. And yet, I know that it pales to the life hereafter. But, I must wait, and I must finish my journey until I rest in Him. I must steward well the road home. Until that day, I enjoy His grace, and a few more “pineapples” along the way.
I gratefully thank the Lord for each one.
So! Hello, 60! Let’s do this!
Pastor Kelly /‘.’\ \’.’/ \’.’/ \’.’/