Day 765 of 1000
Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 58. For some reason, I had more time to reflect on life this year than in years past. Lorena and Kelly dug through a bunch of old photos and found one from almost exactly 25 years ago and put it up on Lorena’s Facebook account. I think the picture might have gotten me into a reflective mood. My father-in-law says that, for boys, the blood does not really start getting to their brain until they are about 25. I think it was just about when this picture was taken that the blood started to get to my brain. I was 32 or 33. My buddy Curt in Tigard said it very well in a comment that went with the picture on Facebook.
He said, “Ken – those were the good old days; when we weren’t good and we weren’t old.”
Well said. Those were the days when we knew what was right, but struggled mightily to do it. It gave us joy to do what was right, but there were lots of temptations. I awakened to the fact that this life and death struggle between right and following my own path would not end until I died, but it was worth it. The temptations were still the temptations, but they were not worth it. It was really quite a slow and gradual awakening for me and I started later than most. It all started to occur at about the time I started my Masters degree. After my Masters degree, I got married, we had two kids, and went through a pretty rough patch of career challenges.
By the grace of God, literally, these life circumstances kept me considering the difference between what was right and taking my own path. I knew I was a different person when I walked into one of our church’s Gospel meetings in a new town when I was a little over 40 years old. I saw an old friend from my high school days who also knew what was right, but struggled with the implementation. It dawned on me that we were both in the right place, trying to do the right thing. I was filled with an overwhelming joy knowing that it was way more important to me now to do the right thing than to do what I wanted. It was true for my friend, too. I actually wept.
Life is much better at age 58 than it was at age 33. I do not think it does any good to say stuff like, “if I knew then what I know now, things would have been different.” I did not know that stuff then, but I was on the path to learning it. That is a good thing. I cannot say there was not joy in my life back in those days. There was. Still I got hurt because of my own wantonness and other people did, too. It could be said that my wantonness was not as bad as that of many others, but really, that is bogus. It is also true that my wantonness was worse than that of many others. Those are all things to regret and try to make amends, but they are also important to put behind you and not let it have control of your life.
I guess the upshot is that I am really glad to be 58 years old. Life has never been better. There is still temptation, but the benefits of not taking my own path are right in front of me and impossible to deny. I can hardly wait for 59.