Today is my fifty-ninth birthday. Fifty-nine.
Notice that I didn’t finish the sentence with an exclamation point. That doesn’t mean that I’m not excited about celebrating another birthday.
Notice that I didn’t use a question mark. That’s because I question neither the date of my birth, nor my age.
Notice that I didn’t add a “frowny face” to the end of the statement. That’s because from where I’m standing, being fifty-nine doesn’t look nearly as old as it did when I was twenty-nine, or thirty-nine, or even forty-nine.
My announcement that today is my birthday ended, quite simply, with a period.
Exclamation points (!) are used to convey excitement or a strong feeling about a particular subject. Quite often they’re used to indicate something of significance.
Question marks (?) are used at the end of a sentence to ask a direct question, or in referencing something that’s unknown, uncertain, or unknowable.
Strings of characters (X#@*!?) are often used in comic strips to convey frustration or anger.
Frowny faces (L), as I like to call them, are used to depict sadness or disappointment.
What’s the symbol?
Yesterday I received an early birthday greeting from a dear friend that I’ve known since school days…
Hope you enjoy your Birthday! You know that birthdays are a gift from God, so what I possibly give you top that?!? Love you, Mary Jane
Mary Jane couldn’t have been more spot-on with her message to me, and I agree with her 100%! (Did you notice that Mary Jane used question marks and an exclamation point to convey her emotions?)
In my heart, the gift reaches well beyond my birthday. You see, it’s not just birthdays that are gifts from God, but every day that He gives me here on this earth. No, I don’t think that way because I’m fifty-nine. I don’t believe that my days are numbered, or that “the end” is near.
The truth is that I appreciate every day, not only because of where I am, but because of where I’ve been….
Before I began writing this post, I scanned the keyboard on this laptop looking for the symbol for gratitude. The closest thing that I could think of for expressing gratitude is a happy face (J), but it denotes happiness. I was looking for something that, in essence, captures the gratitude that fills my heart each day. No such luck. What I’m left with are, quite fittingly, my thoughts expressed through my words.
Aside from going to church and attending a meeting on Sunday, and doing some bookwork yesterday, I spent the last two days listening to worship music and reflecting on the fifty-nine years that preceded today. That’s a lot of territory to cover!
In doing so, I divided my life into the six decades that I’ve been around, and revisited a lot of “Kodak moments” in each of those decades. I won’t bother you with details, but I will tell you that each decade had its share of pride and shame, good and bad decisions, highs and lows, successes and failures, dreams and disappointments, and of course, affairs of the heart that brought love, joy, happiness, hurt, and pain.
Given the opportunity, I wouldn’t trade or change the events of my life in any of those decades. I am the direct result of all that I’ve been through, both good and bad. I’m of the firm belief that God has orchestrated those events, and that He has me right where He wants me!
That being said, I can honestly tell you that none of the previous five decades can hold a candle to the one that I’m in right now. This one is the best. This one is the one where it all came together, where the pieces of the puzzle finally fit. You see, this one is the decade that marked the beginning of my real relationship with a real God.
Without Him, there was never enough happiness, or love, or peace of mind, or money, or possessions, or satisfaction, or any of the things that I never could seem to get enough of. Today, I lack for none of those.
Here’s the thing: I don’t have more money or possessions, but I have enough. I have been blessed with happiness, love, peace of mind, and satisfaction because God’s presence, in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, has changed my perspective in life and filled in all of the gaps.
I’ll close today by summing up my thoughts on this, my 20,454th day of life on this earth…
I’m grateful for my life. I’m grateful for my wife, my family, and my friends. I’m grateful for our business. I’m grateful for my pastor, my church, and my church family. I’m grateful for the things that I get to do to serve God’s Kingdom. I’m grateful that His plans included me. I’m grateful for Jesus and for the sacrifice that He made for you and me. Above all else, I’m grateful for God and His presence in my life. I’m just grateful.
This has indeed been a great, grateful-filled, fifty-ninth birthday.