Today is my 38th birthday. When my wife and five children sang me “Happy Birthday Neil” (“Daddy”) over our happy birthday doughnuts, I had these reflections flash in my head like lightning. But, you’ll have to wait until tonight when I can type them down for you church leaders. Today is important to me, and I want to share my happy birthday with you. My wife and kids are kidnapping me from my church office and taking me somewhere special. Funny, since I’m driving! See you tonight!
Ok, so here I am again. I’m watching and listening to the new Les Miserables movie at home while I type this. So far… wow. Here are my thoughts from earlier (it’s now 13 hours later!!):
Psalm 90:7-12 NET
“7 Yes, we are consumed by your anger; we are terrified by your wrath. 8 You are aware of our sins; you even know about our hidden sins. 9 Yes, throughout all our days we experience your raging fury; the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh. 10 The days of our lives add up to seventy years, or eighty, if one is especially strong. But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression. Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away. 11 Who can really fathom the intensity of your anger? Your raging fury causes people to fear you. 12 So teach us to consider our mortality, so that we might live wisely.”
Time is precious. And short. It’s the only commodity most of us still have. Happy birthday Neil! When I was 14 years old, I read that many famous 60’s and 70’s rock stars died at age 27 (Jim Morrison of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Mama Cass, etc.) as well as Kurt Cobain in the 90’s. Until I turned 28 years old, I had a fear I was going to die at that age too. Yeah. Happy Birthday Neil. I was a miserable sod every birthday since. This year though, I had these thoughts to guide me. To “number my days”–“consider my mortality”–“live wisely.” Here are some additional thoughts captured from a wise 90 year old.
44 Life Lessons, written by a 90 year old
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for things that matter.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye… But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose Life.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
34. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
35. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
36. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
40. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
41. The best is yet to come…
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
Happy birthday Neil. Happy birthday to a faithful husband for 15+ years and never-tiring father of five small children who adore you. Thank you mom, for giving birth to me. Thank You, Lord Jesus for giving me another day to live know You better.