I wonder what it was like.
33 years ago I was born into the world I live in now. I passed from the darkness into the light, and saw for the first time that there was more to my life than darkness and indistinct voices.
I wonder what it was like.
I was obviously present at the event in question, but I guess I wasn’t paying too much attention, since I don’t remember any of it. I guess if my birth was typical at all, I entered the world I now know, and after some coercion, took my first breath. At various points after my first breath, I was washed and bundled, weighed and observed, and handed to my mother and father so they could meet me face to face for the first time. I suppose that was an incredible moment for them, one filled with weight and quite possibly terror, but also filled with a deep care that they had probably never before experienced. I irrevocably changed their lives forever, and things would never be the same for them.
I’m not sure at what point in the process this may have happened, but at some point someone took note of the time, and wrote it down so it could be on my birth certificate. They jotted down a series of numbers that didn’t mean much to many people, but to my parents, those numbers represented the beginning of a brand new experience, as they walked into the unknown lands of parenthood, together. For me, it represents the beginning of my journey in this world.
Just a few simple numbers mark the beginning, and one day those same simple numbers will mark the end.
I wear a new watch tonight, as I always do on my birthday, having retired the previous years watch. I note the numbers, realizing with each passing second that I have just a bit less time here in this world. I filled my year in the best ways I could, deciding that I didn’t want to focus on what I didn’t have, but rather make the most of what I did. I’ve covered a lot of ground in the last year, and I am going to take a moment to reflect on it, to remember what life was like when I was 32.
It has been a crazy year.
During one hectic and incredible week, I bought a school bus at auction, flew to D.C. to pick it up, and more importantly went on my first date with the woman I hope to someday soon call my wife. I had met her in June, at a CD release event, and I had done my best to catch her eye that night at a group dinner. I’ll leave the full story for another day, but I left dinner that night convinced that she wasn’t interested, and that she wasn’t going to be. 4 months and one birthday later, we met at a stone quarry to admire the view. I eventually invited her out for coffee, and I have grown to not only love her, but understand more fully what love is as our relationship has continued. I’ve never done anything to deserve this love, but I am so glad that I have finally found what I was searching for. In December I asked her to be my girlfriend, and now I am waiting anxiously to ask her another very important question.
I’ve found in her a helper, a helper in times of trouble, which have been in some abundance this year. I’ve wrestled with a lot of my demons this year, exposing them to the light so that others can see the victory God has brought, so they can find hope for themselves. I’ve found myself tossed about, as relationships to people and organizations I expected to always be there, have been broken. Slow times at work have made interesting financial arrangements necessary, and while things are looking up financially, I’m still catching up at times.
In June, I had the privilege of visiting my friends Joel and Deborah in their new home, a small country in Sub-Saharan Africa. I wrestled with separation in ways I never have, and experienced a life I knew nothing about. I was humbled by the kindness of a man who drove us around the beautiful countryside, who refused desperately needed money so that he could serve his brothers in Christ. That man was hurt the next day in a motorcycle accident, and left unable to work for several weeks, but in his poverty and brokenness, he invited us into his home for a humble meal outside under a darkening sky. I worshiped with brothers and sisters who I may never meet again in this world, and I found acceptance and grace in all of our interactions.
I witnessed the marvels of a full solar eclipse, and I was awe-struck. I was surprised on my birthday by my girlfriend, and my good friend who drove 3 hours to see me and celebrate with me. I love them both.
You see, I’m happy to continue living this life here, happy to watch the moments tick by on my new watch, because I now see so many good possibilities for my time here. I couldn’t see any of those moments from where I was a year ago. So now, I will do my best to enjoy each moment I have left, hoping to make as big of an impact as I can. But in all of this hoping for the future, I return again to the moment I was born.
On that day 33 years ago, I didn’t know what the world I was entering held for me. I only knew that I was leaving behind everything I had known from before. When my time runs out, I certainly don’t know exactly what awaits me, but I know that on that day I will see in full, that which I know only see in part. I’ll be born again, born into another world, where I’ll meet the faithful motorcycle driver, and I’ll speak to him, and invite him in for dinner. I’ll be in a place that makes my current home seem like darkness, as I step into the light.
I wonder what it will be like.
Be sure to check out the other people on the journey with me at 254peace.org, or on our Facebook page. There are some awesome people participating this year, and they all have something important to say.