Monday, October 29, 2012

47 to 47

My 47th birthday is 47 days from today.
Time flies - whether or not you are having fun.
Mercifully, for the most part, I have been having great fun.
Anybody who regularly reads this blog knows that I am enormously grateful for my life, 
for the blessings, the challenges, the joys, and the sorrows. 
I have been blessed indeed.

Approaching 47 years of age, I know that I'm in the latter half of my life. Honestly, I don't want to live to be 94 years of age; I know I would be a burden to a lot of folks if I get to be that old. So here is the truth: I am officially living into and through the second and final act of my life.

As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the east coast over the next two days, as I pray, plead, hope, light incense, and pray some more for the safety of all those that are in the storm of that path, I am reminded of the need to count our days aright. To live fully every day. To look up and enjoy the beauty around us - the birds, the trees, the rooflines of buildings we frequent, the airplanes overhead. To give thanks. To love those with whom we live, those to whom we have made commitments, and those whose paths we cross. We ought to smile at strangers, help the weak, and serve each other and the world. 

Anyone who has lost a home to a storm, had ancient, beautiful trees fall onto or near their homes, anyone whose sky is black with storm clouds, they would say - Sure, it's just stuff. But be grateful for it nonetheless. Enjoy it. Take none of it for granted.

Anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer, watched someone suffer with a chronic illness, or is awaiting a diagnosis, they too would say - Be grateful for health and strength. Eat well, exercise regularly, and enjoy your life fully. Every day.

During the next 47 days, I'm going to spend as much time as I can spare looking back on my life, journeys I've taken, storms I have survived, places I've lived, schools I've attended, lessons I've learned, remembering friends and other loved ones, sharing stories, favorite songs, books, and movies, and recalling as many moments as possible for which to give thanks. 

I close today's post with this blessing, repeated often by my dear friend, Kirk Hall, when he gives the benediction at church. These words echo deep within me today, on this 47th day before my 47th birthday. 

Life is short,
And we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of 
those who make the journey with us.
So be swift to love and make haste to be kind.
And the blessing of God, 
who made us, who loves us, and who travels with us
be with you now and forever.

Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

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