A nice round number, but it doesn’t include Craig’s age in the sum. (He’ll be 62 in two days.) So I decided to add a few more milestones into the mix and see if I could come up with another jolly, round number.
Here’s the result: It’s been 43½ years since my “rebirth day” when I began a new life in Christ. We’ve had a full and wonderful 37½ years of parenthood. And I lived 57 years in Ohio before moving here to Merryland.
It’s a little convoluted, but if you add all that up (40 + 60 + 62 + 43.5 + 37.5 + 57), we’ve accumulated the rough equivalent of 300 years of joy.
There are plenty of additional milestones I could add, but I wanted an even number for a total. Some of the other things I might include if I wanted to figure out how to work them in: Ten years of button-busting grandparenthood. For Craig, 6 years of retirement. More than 15 years of being debt-free. Almost 14 years since I started seriously to write.
I suppose I could look back and reflect on some of the unhappy days as well. But you know what? I’ve pretty much forgotten those. I know they occurred, but why dwell on them?
I am who and what I am today, in part, because of all my experiences, both pleasant and otherwise. Mostly, I am what I am because of the grace of God, who works all things together for good for those who love him. That’s somewhat of a trite saying, but it’s rock-solid true nonetheless. When in the midst of a storm, we don’t always see the good, but it’s always there, above and beyond the savage wind and the dark, thundering clouds.
Today, in this my 300th year of joy, I know there will be storms ahead. Sometimes the gusts will knock me off my feet. But big deal; it happens to everybody. In fact, God promises it will happen to everyone who follows him. But that’s just stuff that happens along the way; it’s not the end of the story.
I was recently reminiscing about a day when I was very small, and my mom was wrapping Christmas presents. She had a twin brother who was disabled, and because he couldn’t get out to shop, he ordered Christmas gifts from catalogs and had them sent to our house. My mom would then wrap them for him so he could give them to the family. Because none of the gifts she wrapped that day were for me, I was allowed to be in the room with her.
Being a little kid, I was mighty excited about Christmas and was probably getting under her skin. I asked several times, “How soon can we open our gifts? When’s Christmas?”
“About two weeks,” was always the distracted reply.
“Well, how long is two weeks? When’s it gonna be Christmas?”
I still remember her answer: “It seems a long time, to you. But to me, it’s just around the corner. The older you get, the faster time goes.”
I guess I’ve always had a very literal mind, because I went and looked down the hall, hoping to see Christmas “just around the corner.” It wasn’t there. Hmmm. Maybe only moms can see it…
Another thing I’ve been thinking about is the excitement I felt about Christmas back then.
I knew I was going to get presents. I didn’t know what they were going to be, but I knew I was going to like them. My grandparents would come over, and it would be a great day. I knew that with certainty, though I didn’t have a clear idea of when that “great day” would arrive.
That little kid is still inside me bubbling over with anticipation. But it’s not Christmas I’m anticipating. It’s Christ.
There are gifts in my future, of that I’m certain. I don’t know exactly what they’ll be, but I know I’m going to love them. All God’s family will be united, and it will be a great day.
I know that with certainty, though I don’t have a clue when that “great day” will arrive.