Yesterday was my birthday. I am a half a century young. I am 50 years of age and am actually really excited about it. Several celebrations have already occurred (with my son before he went off on a 10 day mission trip with our church, with my Wabash friends in Indiana, and last night with friends). Amazingly some have made it known that turning 50 should make me sad. They have flat out stated that 50 is old. Of course most of them were much younger than I am. And I do not believe it. 50 is just a number and it doesn’t make me sad in the least. I am proud to be 50.
So today I pause to look back at 50 years of life. And it has been a great life. I was blessed with an astonishingly great family of origin. My parents taught me to stand up and speak for myself. They taught me to be open and affirming of persons not like myself. They taught me my faith and how to live it boldly. They provided me with a wonderfully loving home and two sisters who are my dear friends. Not many people can say that.
I was also blessed to receive a fantastic education. I taught with some amazing colleagues for 9 years in secondary education in Texas. I am so grateful for the education and the M.Div. I later received from Saint Paul School of Theology and for the churches I served as a United Methodist pastor in Kansas and New Jersey. Blessings continued to flow as I received a Masters of Philosophy and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Drew University. I have received amazing support and collegial encouragement from colleagues at both Hood Theological Seminary in NC and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. In my work I have found friends for life who are so important to me.
I am blessed with an amazing family of choice. They lift me up when I am down and call me into accountability when I screw up. They love me no matter what and I love them as well. They are friends, family, and loved ones who make my life worth living. I cannot imagine my life without them.
I am blessed with a vocation that I love. I have been teaching in one form or another for most of my adult life and it is in my blood. I teach and in those moments I am the best of who I can be. I teach and I help propel the church into the 21st century in exciting and engaging ways. I teaching and it makes me happier than almost any time else in my life. I am lucky to have this joy in my life.
But most of all I am blessed by a faith that keeps me sane, makes my life complete, and connects me to the Creator in ways that lift me off the ground. I am blessed with a church community that inspires and challenges me. I am blessed by a life that brings me hope, love and joy! Thank you to all of you who play a role in it.
I am 50 – and I am proud and blessed.