William Shakespeare, Shirley Temple, John Cena, George Lopez, Matthew Underwood, and a host of others share the date of April 23rd with me. Yes, in 1960 in a land far away called Florida, I was born 57 years ago. I stand in a line of pretty famous people. I am older then some and much younger than others.
Fifty-seven years! My children have lovingly announced that I am only 3 years away from 60! Yes, I, too, wonder at times why we don't eat our young! I'm just thinking, but it was only yesterday I was confirmed at the altar of the Brandon First United Methodist Church with Dr. Ray Harrison asking me the vows of Christian discipleship and church membership. It was only yesterday that I felt the call as a teenager to ordained ministry, and without hesitation I said yes. (I know I'm old, and I'm weird!). It was a few hours ago I received my Master of Divinity from Candler, and Dr. Jim Waits presented with the now yellowed paper to prove I had done it. I know it was only a few minutes ago Bishop Ernest Fitzgerald laid his hands on my head along with Dr. Randall Williamson and ordained me an elder in The United Methodist Church. A few seconds ago, Bishop Watson called me to invite me to be a part of his cabinet. Time does fly when you are having fun and being as obedient as you are able to be in the Christian walk.
Most days I feel much younger than 57. My spirit is full of what can be and what will be for God's Kingdom here in North Georgia. I am overflowing with joy about all the God can do in and through me in the next 57 years. I have the spirit of young adult.
My body, of course, is now telling me differently. I can't move as fast or carry as much. I can't hit the high tenor notes either without lots of shaking in the voice. I have spots that people lovingly call "age spots" on my hands and my face. I have my hair still, but it has gone grey. I used to be asked if I really was my age, and now others are calling me grandpa!
Regardless, I'm thankful for each of my 57 years and 20,805 days. God has never left my side, even as I tried to leave God's side. God has blessed my life with God's call and plan. I am one who married better than I deserved, one who has children wiser then I hope to be, one who has a best friend that I don't deserve and you. I have had the grand privilege of working beside you these last six years as together we sought to make the Church of Jesus Christ vital and alive. I have been humbled to share each moment (yes, even the most brutal) with you.
Well, 57 isn't so bad, I guess. I know I can only say thanks to God and to you for making it a wild and crazy journey. Thank you for being willing to join me. Whether you see me as old or young, I hope you see me as one with you along this holy way.
Happy Birthday to all April 23 peeps. We rock!
You rock, too,