25 02 2019

Fine at 59!

Is it me or does time accelerate to hyper speed as we get older? I am writing this on Sunday the 24th which just happens to be my Birthday. On the calendar, it is celebration number 59. When I was a younger child, that age seemed ancient. Now that I’m here, only my body reminds me that I’m not 17 anymore. On the inside, I still feel like there is a Kid longing to get out and experience every adventure still yet to come. To me, this gives great evidence that we are not just random accidents taking up space until we stop breathing. Just the awareness that my soul has of a deeper spiritual connection with life points me in the direction that we were created by a God who holds the answers to all of our compounding questions.


I spent most of my early days going to Church and in so doing I had a tremendous amount of guilt stirring in my conscience. I desired to do everything right and please those who mattered most. I desperately wanted to be loved. At the very least, I would have settled for just being liked. If that was my goal, let’s just say I fell miserably short! On the outside I may have appeared like the model straight A Student who conscientiously never swerved very far from the straight and narrow path of conformity to the agreed upon standards of being religious, but on the inside, I was lonely and longing for something or someone to fill the screaming void shouting from my heart. If there is a lesson here, it is to not always judge a book by its cover. What appears to be on the surface doesn’t always give you an accurate synopsis of what truly is.


When I turned my life over to Jesus back in 1975, I knew that I was a different person from the get go. At first, I thought all my problems were history and from that point forward, I was going to change the world for Jesus. With God by my side, what could stand in my way? I learned the hard way that my greatest enemy would be myself. I am stubborn when it comes to surrendering my will. I am defensive when others rebel against my vision. I am overly protective to those who try to successfully get close to me. I have spent way more hours alone than I ever could have predicted. My assumptions have come back to hurt me more than help me. Life has provided way more disappointments than I could have ever dreamed of. Still, without faith, I would have never survived. Without the reality of the Lord’s Presence, I would have lost my way amidst the dark nights of the journey. But on this my Birthday, against the odds, I’m still here. There may be serious scars on my spirit and enormous chunks of my heart that have been bombed by the enemy, but, I am not done yet!


Today I got to spend the day with 3 out of my 4 children. Leah, Abbie and Joel actually got me an old-time candlestick phone as my Birthday gift. I have been watching episodes of the classic old TV Show “The Untouchables,” and they knew I wanted to be like Eliot Ness. My one Son Rudy who couldn’t make it ministers with his wife Lindsey and their 3 kids in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Also present today was my Son-In-Law Jeff who is married to Leah and my daughter Abbie’s boyfriend, John. My amazing Granddaughter Lucia provided me moments of pure unadulterated joy. I melt every time she calls me “Pop-Pop.” The day would not have been complete without my wife Terri. Just when I think I know her so well, she is there surprising me all over again. Terri, Joel and I just got home from the Poconos where I was determined to teach my Son how to ski. Mission accomplished but not without another crazy weekend of forever memories. We went up to a Cabin where we forgot to pack any food, I didn’t bring with me any shirts other than the one I was wearing, we proceeded to get stuck time and time again in the driveway of the rental and my wife is afraid of Bambi. The deer were obviously domesticated and expected us to feed them. I wanted to harness them and get them to help us out of the driveway!

As I write this week’s article, I am admitting that I am resigning from attempting to make sense of this thing called life. In a world that wants to box up everything nice and neat and package it into a to-go bag, it just doesn’t fit and the “ajita” that we experience attempting to do so only steals the joy of the moment staring us in the face. This was not the movie I signed up to star in. I thought I’d be so much freer by now and finally untied from the old ball and chains. But even though there are more rigorous roads to travel by than recess to recreate, I know whom I believe in and I am persuaded that He is able to keep all that I have committed to Him until the day I finally graduate to Glory.


Speaking of sobering thoughts, turning 59 may not seem like a big deal to some, but my Dad only lived to be 67 and I’d be lying to you if I wasn’t aware that there are probably more days behind me than still lying ahead. I’m not going to get all morbid or melancholy, but I will wake up to the truth that I can’t waste the trails that must be walked upon now. I want to stop blaming God for the times that didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m sure the Lord is tired of my bargaining styled prayers. Ease doesn’t equal love and favor. From the rising of the sun until the going down of the same, I humbly long for the Name of the Lord to be praised not just by my spoken beliefs but by my behavior. So here we go again. I anticipate to be here the same time next year celebrating year number 60, but if I don’t get there, let it be said that Rudy went out in a blaze of glory that transferred all the applause to the One who got the rawest of deals on earth to open the widest of gates in Heaven!  



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