Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I patiently waited, LORD,
for you to hear my prayer.
You listened and pulled me
from a lonely pit
full of mud and mire
You let me stand on a rock
with my feet firm,
and you gave me a new song,
a song of praise to you.
Many will see this,
and they will honour and trust
you, the LORD God.

That's from the beginning of Psalm 40 but this isn't about a psalm or a U2 song based on a psalm.

I turned 40 on Saturday. On Saturday, the day of my birthday, my in-laws came to town for Thanksgiving dinner nearly a week late. That's because they spent the long weekend in Dearborn, MI at the Henry Ford Museum and in Frankenmuth, MI. I was expecting my parents and brother on Sunday. They like to come down and worship with us and then they usually take us out for lunch and visit for the afternoon (they live an hour away). Well, on Sunday morning after I'd vested and was walking through the sanctuary to the narthex to greet people as they came, my parents and brother were there, but so were an uncle and two aunts. Then as people are coming through the door another aunt and a couple of cousins and their families showed up. My wife had planned a surprise party for me after church. Some people had offered to make sandwiches, my wife ordered a big cake, so coffee hour become a light lunch and a birthday party.

Just one problem. I was teaching confirmation after church. I had to miss the party. I figured I'd at least get to visit with the family that made the trip down after confirmation class. Well one cousin and his family and the aunt who came with them had to leave so I didn't get to visit with them. The rest did stay for a few hours in the afternoon. It was a nice thought and a nice gesture and a good cake (there's still some left at home, I had a piece for breakfast today).

I'm 40 now and I don't think I feel much different from when I was 30. Another pastor I know turned 60 earlier this year. A friend who turned 60 last year said that 60 is the new 40. I said I was turning 40 this year so what did that make me? He told me a psychologist friend of his claims that these days adolescence lasts until 35 so I'm just barely an adult. When I teach confirmation class and think back to my days going through that kind of instruction I find it hard to believe that it was over 26 years ago. Last night our adult study group was talking about Holy Communion and for all of us our first communion was tied to confirmation. My confirmation was on Palm Sunday, March 30, 1980 and my first communion was on Maundy Thursday that week, April 3. After confirmation we were invited to be part of our church youth group, where I got to know my wife. It doesn't seem that long ago.

But then, later this month (in just 10 days actually) we'll celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. Our oldest daughter is 13 and her confirmation day will come next spring. Time marches on, and I guess I'm getting old, but I don't feel old. I'm sporting a beard for the first time in my life. I started growing it in the summer when we were on vacation. Does a beard make you look older or younger? Mine just might be making me look a lot older because there's a lot of grey in the sideburns and a really noticeable patch of grey on my chin. My brother gave me a gag gift (I hope it was a gag), Just For Men hair colour for beards.

How long, to sing this song?
How long, to sing this song?
How long...


Detail Boi said...

...how long... to sing this song.

I can remember 18 or 19 years ago when we sang that song at Exhibition Stadium with U2.

I know that people that are older than us must think back to our age with a desire to turn back the clock; I often think that I'd like to.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my life, but sometimes I wish I was 10 or 15 years younger.

I'll be honest, and I'll say that I didn't expect my life to be the way it turned out; I definitely thought my life would be so different.

But then, there isn't anything we can do about time... all that we can do is live our life as well as we can.


LutherPunk said...

Don't feel bad about the grey in the beard...I am getting patches of that in my beard at 32.

My son (a 7th grader) has taken very recently to telling me how I am growing old. I guess I am, but at least i can still smack him around on Madden 07 on X-Box, so it makes up for it a little bit.

Glad to see you posting again!

Carolanne said...

I'm 51 weeks older than you! Welcome to the 40's!