Today is my 36th birthday.
Sometimes when I tell people how old I am they shudder at how close I am to the grave. Most of the time though, people remind me of how young I am, how much of my life is before me and how much I have yet to learn.
I think both of those reactions are probably somewhat true.
I look back on my late teens, twenties and early thirties and think of all the things that I have accomplished...and all the things that I didn't accomplish. I don't regret the major choices I've made in my 36 years but I often wonder how my life would have gone had I taken a different path.
I think about the opportunity that I had to go to Hillsdale College in Michigan for my undergraduate studies when I was 16. My parents felt that it would be unwise to send their 16 year old to college in Michigan. They were probably right. I wonder though about the path that decision would have set my life on.
My decision to marry at 20 also shaped my life significantly. My marriage is absolutely fantastic, and Joanna and I have worked hard to make it that way. One of the major motivations to start our childcare business with my parents in 2003 was her love for children and training in early childhood education. Our time at The Cottage has been a significant positive factor in any financial success that we have had since that time.
Looking for a part time morning job at The soon-to-open Salvation Army Kroc Center was also a turning point for me. Nine years later I have earned a position at the highest leadership level there, The Salvation Army paid for a substantial portion of my graduate studies, I learned a whole new set of skills (film making) and my leaders there have fueled the fire of pastoral ministry inside me to the point that I have finally stepped out to plant a church.
After thinking about all of my life that is over, it's comforting to hear the counsel of older friends and acquaintances that life is just beginning. In many ways I know that that is true.
I will be taking a new job as a film editor at the end of the month. I haven't made a career move like this in my entire life. I expect that I will learn and grow in innumerable ways at byDesign Films just like I have grown everywhere else I have been planted.
Revelation Church continues to feel more "like a real church" every week. Wherever the people of God gather is a real church, but ministry seems more real as we gain momentum. I am excited to see what God does through this endeavor.
I'm usually fairly depressed on my birthday every year. I honestly think it's some sort of chemical imbalance that takes places every several months. Joanna is determined to make this birthday incredible...we are about ready to leave the house and begin her secret birthday plan.
I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure I will have a good time. But there is a gravity to a birthday, the reflection on years past and the anticipation of the time I have left, that always leaves me a little melancholy. There is a part of me that welcomes the melancholy, that would like to just be alone in the woods with my thoughts on my birthday.
There is another part of me though that is looking forward to drowning my thoughts with Iron Man, Captain America and their friends as they battle to save the universe from Thanos. I think I'll go with that.