I am 47. I can see 50 in pretty clear focus. In a handful of years I will have outlived both of my parents. And I find myself looking back more often. It is not that I have stopped looking forward; it’s just that I am finding the path ahead is greatly defined by the path behind.
I see change. The world has changed. The ways we communicate have changed. But, mostly, I am thinking about how I have changed.
As I came to the close of my 20s – as I faced 30 – I was certain about a great many things. I knew what was right and what was wrong. I knew what God loved… and what he hated. I argued and debated for right belief. I smashed secular records, gave up R-rated movies, salty language, and beer. And I wondered, if not out loud, if HIV was not a natural consequence of sin. I voted republican.
When I look back at 20-something me, I am not ashamed or filled with regret. I know that that version of myself was a necessary part of becoming who I am in this moment. And I am encouraged because I am beginning to understand that growth cannot happen if we remain static – that when we grip to tightly any moment in time, we miss the beauty of change and growth and wisdom.
These days; I rarely, if ever, listen to “christian music”. I love and embrace salty language… and beer. I don’t believe that the earth was made in 6 days and I don’t believe that LGBT folks should be denied a seat at God’s table. And I look back at that 27 year old kid and realize that we still have something in common. We both want desperately to live as closely to God’s heart as possible. We both are seeking wisdom and truth and we are both being changed by every question asked.
And so… I look back and marvel at the evolving reality of the man I am while I look forward to meeting the man I will be when 50 has almost disappeared in my rear-view mirror.