i turn 34 today. birthdays just don't feel as significant to me as they once did. i remember the days when you turned 15 and that felt important. and then the next year 16 felt monumental. not long after that was 18, then 20, then 21, and then things started to slow down a bit. after i went over the hill at 30, i began to lose track.
one of the young people in our youth group asked me last week how old i would be today and i honestly had to stop and think about it. this is nothing new for me, as i have regularly forgotten my age in the last few years, but the youth at the gathering were really taken aback by this. "how can you not know how old you are?" they teased. and it's a legitimate question, but i guess it just doesn't matter as much any more. what's the difference between 33 and 34, or even 37, other than their relative distance to 30 and 40 respectively? not much, it seems to me. just mile markers along the way on a journey to no particular destination. and that is really the point, isn't it? it's not about the destination.
when i am driving, i am a furious mile counter. when i finally arrive somewhere after a long drive i usually am exhausted not so much from paying attention to the road but from counting miles and constantly figuring and refiguring the time it will take to get wherever i am going. my mind is constantly at work. i'm figuring things like "average speed," and how fast i have to go for how many minutes in order to raise that figure, and so forth. even though i am not a mathematician in any sense of the word, i find i have this insatiable desire to countdown towards my destination when i want to get somewhere.
but that isn't true of life, at least not for me. see, here i am: the obsessive compulsive mile counter doesn't even know how old he is! am i an enigma? yes, but that's beside the point. the truth is that i have wholly and completely learned to rest in the truth that life is not about the destination. i'm not counting miles becuase i'm not too concerned about where i'm going. in all truth, i have no idea where i'm going! (i often remember the little axiom that if you want to make God laugh, tell God your 10-year plan). what i DO know is where i am, and, what's more, the incredibly rich community that journeys with me. i may have to do some subtracting to figure out how old i am, but i need to do some heavy multiplication to count my blessings. and ultimately, that is where the great gift of life lies for me: not in the things i pass along the way, but in the ones who go that way alongside me. that is my joy. you are my celebration. thank you.