I’m an optimist. Not even gravity can get me down. Recently I celebrated another birthday. A younger friend called and sang, “Hair Plugs Keep Fallin’ Off My Head.” I told him, “Hey! I feel pretty chipper. And last I checked no one had used the word ‘chipper’ for about 30 years.”
Another friend didn’t celebrate his birthday this year—just opted to ignore the doorbell and see if the visitor would go away. But I embrace this milestone. I’m able to get to the fridge and navigate staircases. I exercise three times a week because it feels good when I stop. In grade five I was a pack-a-day smoker. But I quit the day I started. My vices are meagre now, just the odd can of Coke, something that contains all the goodness of aluminum wheels.
When I turned fifty, I thought of the book of Leviticus where the fiftieth was a year of joy and pardon. Everyone was to return home, forgive debts, and set free their indentured servants. I had trouble enforcing this. Return home? Our adult children eagerly return home, but only for lavish meals. Forgive debts? The people at the bank insist I continue mortgage payments. Set indentured servants free? I offered my wife the year off, still, she cooks magnificent meals because she loves me and knows that without her, I will resort to subsisting on chips and pinecones and be dead within two weeks.
With this birthday, I’m one year closer to Home. Looking in the mirror you notice that gravity doesn’t tend to lift anything, but the thought of eternity with Christ excites me like never before. It would make my hair stand on end. If I had some.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one.” Thoughts of heaven beckon us to do something lasting while we have the chance. Hebrews 12 invites us to “strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up, and run with endurance the race God has set before us.” How? “By keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
I can truly say—without medication—that I love getting older. My parents don’t tell me what to do anymore. In fact, I can stay up as late as I want now. Sometimes until 8 PM.