Half A Century

I turned fifty yesterday.  Half a century.  I can now be a member of AARP and can start receiving "senior" discounts with a valid AARP membership card.  Heck yes.  

My wife asked me earlier in the week what I wanted to do on my birthday (which was yesterday), and I told her that I wanted to smoke a brisket and some ribs and celebrate with friends.  We also planned on having the church staff over for lunch. 

Two of my best friends surprised me by flying in from Chicago just for one day, which was just incredible and humbling.  

I had a great afternoon with the church staff just sharing, eating and celebrating.  

And then in the evening, a close friend, my oldest son and my daughter-in-law came over to the house and we all feasted on some awesome Texas-style BBQ (I may be from Florida, but I'm learning how to do BBQ properly).  

It was one of the best birthdays I can remember, and I got to spend it with so many of the people I love.  

An older friend texted me yesterday to tell me that "50 is the new 30," and that he remembered his 50's as a blessed time in his life.  I agreed with him.  I am stepping into a new decade of life where I feel like I am starting to figure some things out at last.  

And some of the things I'm figuring out as I grow older is the importance of taking the time to enjoy friends and family--to relish moments of true connection with others, to be present in the here and now, and to revel in life's milestone celebrations with people I care about deeply.  

In the Old Testament book of Job there is a short admonition that I call to mind today:  
Let days speak and many years teach wisdom. 
I look forward to the days ahead and I know that they will continue to speak to me, and I am eagerly anticipating the coming years as well---I can't wait to see what wisdom they will bring.  

And though it is true that the older I get, the more I realize how much I don't know--there is one lesson I feel like I am finally learning.  It's simply this:  Each day of our lives comes with the warning label, "Handle with Care."  

You have this day.  That's all you have right now--just this day.  Embrace this day.  Live this day to the fullest.  Make connections with others.  Deepen your friendships.  Tell your family what they mean to you, and make every effort to do that in person and preferably over BBQ.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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