Thursday, January 12, 2017

50 Years Old & Some Reflections

The picture on the left is from my 16th Birthday Party.  The lady to my right is our good friend, Mary Baugh.  This was at their house on Belaire Drive in Centralia, IL on December 23, 1982.  I am holding a WW2 bayonet at the ready to cut my birthday cake proudly wearing my KWK shirt (a FM radio station now defunct.)  Mary's son, Wade, gave it to me the bayonet for the picture.  He wanted me to feel good about the occasion.  It should have been a wonderful time, and it was in ways.  But it was actually a difficult time for our family when I was celebrating my 16th birthday because my mother was in St. Mary's Hospital as Dr. Moore was trying to figure out what was happening with her body.  She had been having numbness in her legs and other symptoms.  She had a battery of tests, some of them quite painful.  The diagnosis came as a process of elimination, as I recall it.  I was there when my dad told her in our living room on Ridge Road:  "You have Multiple Sclerosis."  As soon as the words had passed his lips, he wept so loud and hard that it startled me.  I have never forgotten it. 

While I was trying to enjoy turning 16 with some friends assembled, my mother was lying on a hospital bed.  What was going through her mind?  One thing she later told me of that time period--"My biggest regret was that I was unable to make your birthday cake."  Imagine her world totally in a blizzard of uncertainty, and she is missing the opportunity of making a birthday cake for me!  A mother's love knows no bounds!

The picture on the right is from my 50th Birthday Party on December 23, 2016.  My mother made a cake called "Texas Sheet Cake" per my request.  This was a special birthday cake to me not knowing whether or not we would be together on this day.  I told my son (and daughter):  "I can remember, like it was yesterday, turning 16.  I now know what it is like to be 16 and 50; but you only know what it is like to be turning 16.  You cannot see 50, but you need to be preparing and keeping yourself prepared for that day when it comes.  And, although it may not be pleasant to think about, prepare in case it never comes."  Life has been filled with triumphs and tragedies.  Some of the tragedies have been hard to bear, but through it all I believe God has been there.  I received wonderful cards and gifts from my wife and children.  Messages from dear friends.  I was able to have an excellent meal with my family, and actually able to attend the newly released Star Wars film "Rogue One".  I can remember being 16 and waiting anxiously on the first Star Wars trilogy to come out.  Now, five more of these movies have hit the big screen.  The early films took FOREVER to arrive, but now these are on DVD and can be purchased for very little money in second hand shops.  I can get the VHS copies for pennies before they hit the trash now.

Time has a way of changing things whether or not you want them changed.  Some would like for things to never change, but time overrules such desires.  We do not know what our futures may hold which is why it is so important we put our futures, our eternal future, in the hands of the One who can keep it safe and secure.  I am moving into the phase of life where I can see clearly people leaving the world I love, and people coming into and up in the world I love.  There are times of weeping and times of rejoicing.

Turning 50 was a great blessing.  Having my mother with me to make my cake, well that was the icing on the cake!  I could not foresee this day, but it has now come, and gone.  Time marches on.  To what drum beat are we marching?

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