There are moments in life Divinely established for reflection. No doubt these moments vary from individual to individual. For this husband, father, teacher, and bibliophile the eve of my fortieth birthday serves as such a moment.
The eyes of my soul gaze back upon the decade of my thirties. BLDG 28, the church I help lead, was planted; I was diagnosed with melanoma; and I became a father to my two boys and my darling girl. I traveled less than in my twenties, without question, the result of fatherhood’s calling, but read far more. I was introduced to Keller, bore through the writings of Lewis, polished off The Pilgrim’s Progress at least a half dozen times, and expanded my literary world to include the works of those from other faiths – or no faith at all – allowing my soul to resonate with their creativity while refusing to be shaped by their ideologies.
In my thirties I retired from slow-pitch softball, lost more than 200 pounds – while clearly gaining much of it back time and again – and began collecting pipes, vinyl, and antiquarian books. I went from baggy jeans, to skinny jeans, to slim fit jeans. I took on vests while preaching only to give that up after two years. I became a lover of black coffee, hoppy beer, stage productions, and seclusion.
I preached more than eleven hundred times. I suffered immensely. I sinned greatly. I confessed regularly. And I came to understand the beauty of Divine grace far more with each passing year.
As I enter my next decade I do so hopeful that my friends will support me, my patient wife will endure me, my kids will enthrall me, my faith will guide me, and my God will sustain me. Time to turn the page…