At 8:12 PM, the first boy was delivered. Five minutes later, child number two entered the world. Five decades later, the second of this pair sits at his computer keyboard to celebrate and reminisce about the first of the 18,263 days he has been on Earth. (BTW, we are very fraternal twins. My twin brother is 6'7" with black hair and brown eyes; I am 5'11" with light brown hair and blue eyes.)
While it made have been a little crowded in my mother's womb, I certainly thank God I was allowed to share the space. I am grateful to be an apple of His eye. I am humbled He bestowed the gifts of material and spiritual life upon me. I am awed He brought me into existence.
So, what do you say when you hit 50?
It is truly a matter of perspective.
A Working Solution?
This birthday which ends in a zero seems to be a touch unsettling to me, perhaps due to the fact I have been unemployed for as long as I have (now in my 62nd. month). Perhaps that society is deeming me "useless" and "unproductive" because I "have nothing to offer the workplace" anymore is playing on my self-esteem more than I want to admit. And I do have to wonder, with every rejection by a perspective employer, how much more my ego can take.
Yet, I am not ready to "hang it up". As psychologically taxing and emotionally draining this time has been, I keep hoping. I don't when it's going to end, but it is going to end. I had to wait for my time to be born; surely that first test of patience is my example to persevere.
While we are never sure of our length of days, I am becoming more aware my time on Earth is growing shorter. The death of my maternal grandmother, a maternal aunt, and a paternal uncle-in-law within the past few months sees the older branches of my family tree getting pruned even more. My mother is dealing with two serious medical issues right now, although neither of them are life-threatening. And there are signs I am slowing down a bit. It is nothing serious; rather, they are caution flags which do need my attention and adaptation.
Perhaps I am "over the hill", as lots of people will say at this age. Well, growing old gracefully means not letting that momentum take you down into the grave until it is time. It means living, not dying.
Back To The Future
I am reminded of a phrase that we don't know what the future holds for us, but we do know Who holds it.. Even more than ever, it is a time for discernment. It is a time to more firmly unite your will to the Father, to more securely strengthen your relationship to the Son, to listen more intently to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. It is time for an increase in your spirituality. And what better vehicle than the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church who provides that grace in so many ways? Prayer, the Sacraments, spiritual reading of Scriptures and other books--the treasure is vast; the array, amazing; the options, almost infinite.
Once again, I return to the words of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman:
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission -- I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it -- if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore I will trust in Him. Whatever, wherever I am. I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me -- still He knows what He is about.May God grant me a long life, as many birthdays as He sees fit. May this apple of His eye bear good fruit. May this day, and the rest of what I am granted, be pleasing to Him.
While I may, like Dylan Thomas says, "rage against the dying of the light" at times of despair, William Wordsworth has the right attitude.
"Come grow old with me. The best is yet to be."