Just finished having dinner with my wife, our boss and my folks and Lori is on the way to the airport to drop our boss off, so I thought I would stream (read: let my mind run onto paper) for a couple minutes.
I turned 31 today, and while I am not one of those people for whom milestone birthdays (30th, 40th, 50th, etc) inspire fits of despair and loathing of life, I will admit that birthdays and the times leading up to them have offered greater reason for reflection as of late.
If you read this blog, you know that I am taking the John Paul II Media Institute course on media production. At class the other night I realized that I am the only person in the group who has a child. It was kind of interesting, because part of what I was talking about really doesn't make full sense unless you have kids.
I love the perspective that comes with getting older. I'm no old fart by any stretch (and I do not intend to ever fall into that category), but I do see that time and life lived really helps crystallize things to a state that you can appreciate them and decide what you are going to hang onto in life and what you let go of.
The last 5-7 years have been really amazing for me because God has really done a work in my life to break me out of my self-imposed pressure to either grow up or get over things. I was always in such a rush to get through things that were difficult or needed me to take a look at myself and then invest in the process of growth; I saw areas I needed to grow in as indicators of weakness, poor character or laziness, and I dealt with them ruthlessly and mercilessly, like I was rubbing out hostile rebel forces in my life.
Over that time, I have learned to not have to drive myself at impractical and unhelpful pacing. I have learned that there's healing in walking in your brokeness before God and letting people into your life to help you where you are weak. I have learned that God's goodness is at work in my life whether I am hurting or hooray-ing, and to center myself in that goodness at all times regardless of what's going on in life.
I enjoy life more than I used to. I strive less, and I am at rest about who God made me to be and what he's doing in my life to help me become everything he intended. I don't have points to make or axes to grind- I just want to live honestly and give God my best in everything, and I am learning to love giving my best in something I really am poor at as much as I love giving my best in the things that I am fantastic in.
As a Dad, I love Jonah more than I ever did, and I enjoy him every bit as much now as I ever did when he was just born- I don't pine for other times or stages of development, because I love him for who he is, and no matter how old he gets, he'll always be who he is, and I'll love and value him just as much then as now.
God is helping me to have that kind of grace for myself- to love me for who I am, and for where I am in God's plan and purpose for my life, and to believe the best about me and hope and trust for an amazing life.
I used to hate my birthday- it reminded me of all the things that were wrong with me. I secretly called it the worst day of the year because I saw all the things that I hadn't changed or grown past, and how far and how hard I could work and never realize the kind of change in my life that I was really longing for.
Now birthdays are days of appreciation- for the goodness and faithfulness of God throughout the year just finishing- and they are days of anticipation- for greater grace, growth and fulfillment of promise for another year.
Can't tell you how amazing it feels to write this- to look back and see how God has changed my heart and helped me grow more tender and beautiful instead of hard and angry. It's pretty overwhelming, and I'm fairly bursting with hope for what God can do in my heart this year.
Thanks for celebrating with me. I'll try and post some dinner pics from my party tomorrow so you can savor the amazing grub from afar. Let me know if you're ever in Halifax so you can come by and commiserate- TTFN. :)