Well, I have arrived. I am officially an adult now. I woke up last Tuesday 40 years old, and I have to say, it wasn't bad. In fact, I kind of enjoyed it. Thirty wasn't fun at all. Thirty-five kicked me in the teeth. But 40...well, so far it's been alright.
Turning 40 was a moment of grace for me. Through the nearly 250 birthday wishes I received on Facebook (even though I've been told I'm aloof and uncaring), conversations I had with old friends and new, and a colleague of mine who shall remain nameless but who has taught me just in the last couple weeks that I take myself way too seriously, I have finally accepted who I am.
Tim McGraw has a lot of great songs, but the one running through my head right now is "My next 30 years." I think I'll borrow that idea and look at what I hope my next 40 years look like. So this morning, no deep theological pontifications, no call to Christian action, just a guy at the midway point, looking down the road.
In my next 40 years, I think I'm going to get rid of this extra belly. I don't need it and it just gets in the way of me tying my shoes. I think I'll accept the fact that I'm starting to lose my hair. In fact, I think I'll look dang good bald. I think I'll work on some cardio stuff so I can hopefully get off of the only pill I take every day.
In my next 40 years, I think I'll spend more time with my family and less time fretting over the stuff I need to do in the office. I think I'll give myself permission to let the sermon notes sit and take my girls down to the lake while my girls are young enough to want to go to the lake with their dad. I think I'll work on my organizational skills so that I'm not always in such a frazzle. I think I will pour myself into my calling and my ministry, but not forget that I was a husband and father first.
In my next 40 years, I'm not going to worry about what people think about me. I thought that I didn't already, but I think I was wrong. I think that I will look at the creation I am; warts, tattoos, piercings, and all, and hear what God said when God looked at the creation I am and said, "This is good. This is very good." I have told others that God said that about them, but I'm not sure I believed it for myself.
In my next 40 years I'm going to quit trying to fit into someone else's idea of what I should be. Accept me for who I am or not at all. I think I'm ok with that. If I have to be different for you to love me, then you don't really love me. If God loves me like this, it's ok for you to love me like this also.
In my next 40 years, I'm going to spend more time laughing. I haven't done nearly enough of that in a while. I'm not going to worry so much about every word I say because of the possibility that someone is watching. I like to laugh and I like to have a good time. Hopefully I won't offend, but if I do, I'll go ahead and apologize now.
In my next 40 years I'm going to get another tattoo...just because. In fact, I think I'll start doing a lot more stuff...just because. I think I'll bungee jump again, that was a blast. I think that I'm going to spend more time on the trails. Some of my most powerful God moments have happened on a hiking trail. In fact, in my next 40 years, I'm going to hike part of the Appalachian Trail.
In my next 40 years, I'm going to be the kid I never was when I was a kid. My mom used to call me her "Eight-year-old little old man"...there was a reason she called me that. So, now I think I want to be a 40 year old kid. Anybody want to join me?
In my next 40 years, I'm going to love my wife more and pay more attention to her. She has put up with a lot since I entered the ministry and it's time I started focusing more on her. Being the preacher's wife isn't easy at all, but she's done a pretty good job with it.
In my next 40 years, I'm going to spend more time fishing. I'm going to spend more time in my garden (at least while my back holds out). I may climb a tree just because I can. I'm going to take my girls (and my mom) creek stomping. I'm going to take a few minutes and watch a bluebird in the backyard, or a fishing worm crawl across the ground, or a frog in the pond.
In my next 40 years, I'm going to look up old friends. I have some friends from high school that I haven't seen since college. I'm going to live like there's no tomorrow and give God thanks when I wake up and there is. I'm not going to just say "Life is too short," I'm going to live into that. In fact, I think I'll start planning my 50th birthday party.
In my next 40 years, I'm going to love me. I'm going to love the guy I see when I look in the mirror. I'm going to accept the fact that I'm not perfect, but that I don't have to be. I'm not a perfect pastor, or husband, or father, or friend, but I'll do all I can, and at the end of the day I'll ask forgiveness for the things I screwed up and try again tomorrow.
In my next 40 years, I'm going to be me, and when the sand has finally all slipped through the hourglass, I plan on having no regrets.