It’s only a number, right? But the arrival of my AARP Card in last week’s mail was something of a shock.
I remember how old 50 used to seem. In 1975 I was looking through the Almanac (that’s what 13-year old nerds who grow up to be on Jeopardy do in their spare time) and noticed that the talk show hosts Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, and Merv Griffin were all born in 1925. They were all 50! Old men, I thought. Ancient.
When I was about 25 and worked at a Wilderness Camp for adjudicated youth, I was in the dining hall once when a food salesman came in. I overheard part of his conversation with the cook: “Yeah, I’m 50. But it’s great. The pressure’s off. I know now I will never be the Governor of the Great State of North Carolina. I will never be a millionaire. I will never go into space.”
It sounded like he was saying 50 is when you put your dreams away. When you give up.
Well now I’m 50 and my response to that is . . . not me! I see no reason not to keep dreaming, and no reason not to believe that God still has surprises left for me. I’m the Unexpected Pastor (and unexpected Christian); what unexpected things await I have no idea (that’s why they are unexpected, silly).
My favorite Bible verse – Ephesians 2:10 – still says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
I’m still God’s masterpiece (and so are you), and masterpieces only get more valuable as they get older! And God still has “good things” planned for me to do, I’m sure. I can’t wait to find out what they are.
But I do have to give up some of my dreams.
Ever since I learned my times tables I have hoped that I could remember that 7×8 is 56 without doing 7×4 in my head then adding 28 plus 28. That’s probably not going to happen.
I hoped that someday I would be able to remember whether Romeo’s last name was Montague or Capulet without first remembering Juliet’s by going “Juli-ET Capu-LET.” (That actually came up in a game my trivia team played yesterday. Yeah, I’m on a Trivia Team. It’s what 50-year old nerds who have been on Jeopardy do.) Not going to happen, either.
And I hoped that someday I would remember how many “m’s” tomorrow has without looking it up or being corrected by spell check. But that’s probably a lost cause, too.
Other than that, I’m ready for tomorrow even if I can’t spell it. Ready for my second half-century. Ready for whatever God has planned!