Today is my 29th birthday. Yes, I know that I’m younger than you thought and that you have children older than me. I get that a lot. Actually, having a birthday in December has always meant that I’m younger than my peers so I am quite accustomed to people saying, “You’re younger than I thought.” I don’t know that I have ever actually revealed my age on this site and know that many of the readers believe me to be older than I actually am. Not anymore. In an attempt to be a little more transparent (something I will post about a little later) I thought I’d put that little detail on the table. I’m 29 and proud of it! (See 1 Timothy 4:12).
I had my day pretty well planned out until the government intervened. I need to renew the tags on my car every year on my birthday and this year I have the double honor of also having to renew my license. As always I left it until nearly the last moment. Yesterday, as I prepared to head over to the license bureau I noticed a little red asterisk on the form. It turns out that I need to get an emissions test performed on my car before they will renew the tags, so now a simple little jaunt has turned into a bit of a bigger deal. I can only hope that the car passes without any trouble or it could also quickly get expensive. Beyond that I plan to do some work, to have our real estate agent take us through a nearby home that is for sale and then to kick back this evening with a movie. It sounds like a decent enough day.
Of course being the kid that I am I have no intention of waiting until this evening to open my gifts. I know they are around here somewhere and I intend to listen to whatever music Aileen bought me while I work today! [Update: Between the time I wrote this and the time I actually posted it I opened by gifts. Among them was the new Rebecca St. James album (yeah, yeah, I know, but I read several positive reviews and thought I’d give it a try). You’ve got to see what she is wearing in her photos in the liner notes. It is beyond horrific! It’s not a bad album, though.]
I tend to get quite reflective and maybe even a little morose on the milestone days of the year: birthday, New Years and so on. Today is no different. There is some strange kink in my personality that keeps me always looking forward. I am always wondering what is coming up around the next bend. When I examine my life I am far more likely to wonder what I will be than to reflect on what I have become. I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, but at least some good has come of it. It allows me to look forward to getting older. I know that by this time next year I will have read another fifty or one hundred books and will have studied another few hundred chapters of the Bible. I will, Lord willing, have a third child and will have celebrated my eighth wedding anniversary. I trust that God will continue to bless me and that I will look just a little more Christ-like 365 days from now. God truly is gracious.
Earlier this week I finished reading Rediscovering God’s Love by Frank Allred, a retired Anglican minister. Time and time again I marvelled at his wisdom knowing that much of this wisdom has come by virtue of age. Of course age has also brought him physical infirmity and much sorrow. But oh, for that wisdom! Increasingly I find myself looking forward to being that wise, knowing full well that with it must come many things that are far less wonderful. Yet I am sure a man like Allred counts these as but a light affliction in comparison to the riches of wisdom. And so, I trust, will I.
I reflected this morning on my vocation. At the present time, as you probably know, I am a web designer. It is a job I very much enjoy and one I seem to be reasonably good at. Best of all it allows me to be self-employed and this provides me great freedom to devote time to this web site and to other projects or people that require my attention. And yet when I gaze towards the future I don’t know that I always see myself in this role. I do not see myself designing web pages for another 36 years and retiring after 40 years of being a designer. Once more I am faced with the question of “what will I be?” It is not that I am discontented with what I do or that I am planning on stopping anytime soon. I genuinely feel that I am honoring God with my talents through what I do. Yet there is always the nagging suspicion that I will eventually move on. But what will I move on to?
What I am beginning to wonder, I suppose, is when will I stop becoming and just be? Will there ever be a time when I look at what I am doing and realize that this, this very thing, is what I was created to do and that it is what I want to do for the rest of my life? Truthfully, the times I feel that now are the times when I am writing. When I become swept away with some new discovery and begin to pour out praise to God through the written word I feel complete and fulfilled in a a truly exciting way. Does this mean anything? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
I suppose I have reached the conclusion that I still have a lot of becoming ahead of me. Clearly there is a lot of becoming in the way of Christ-likeness. As a father, husband, son, brother, friend I have a long, long way to go. I look forward to improving in each of these areas and have confidence that God will so bless me. As for my vocation, well, who knows? As with other areas of life I look forward to seeing just what it is that God has in store for me. Perhaps 29 will bring clarity. Or maybe it will have to wait until 30 or 35. Either way, I am looking to the future and looking forward to it.