Today is my thirtieth birthday. I woke up at 2 am to the beautiful, sad, unrelenting cries of Goose who doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t be held, rocked, soothed and fed whenever he feels like it. The cries that woke me (which if I’m honest seldom do wake me) didn’t irritate me the way they have in the past. I was grateful this morning, soaking them in, pretending Goose wanted to be the first one to sing Happy Birthday to his Papa! I have been up since then.
I spent the wee hours of the morning thinking and praying about the past decade. Wow you can change a great deal in a decade if you let yourself. 10 years ago today I would have been studying at Mississippi College (Go Choctaws) in the New Men’s dorm (has anyone given enough money yet to have it renamed?) enjoying my junior year feeling I had finally found my stride as a failed college soccer player but a promising college tennis player. (To mark how much things can change, it has been almost a year since I have picked up a racket. I would have bet the farm I would never be able to say that 10 years ago. Sorry Coach, I will try to do better and get back to practicing soon.)
10 years ago I was certain of so many things about Christianity, faith, people and life. To say I had the world by the tail would not be an understatement. Certain I was on the fast track to who knows where but on it and ready to go. I couldn’t wait for the journey after college to begin. (I don’t know if I am less ambitious but certainly my ideals of success have changed)
Since the days of the New Men’s Dorm, college tennis, internships, seminary studies, new friendships, the adventures of courtship, engagement and marriage to Susan Fraley, starting our family, the arrival of our wild man Pumpkin-Doodle, the miracle of Goose’s arrival, taking the training wheels off and beginning as Pastor of Royston Baptist Church, and the many things I have missed that make up my twenties- I am deeply humbled by the people I have met, the way I have been blessed, the family I have- the ones who have put up with me since I was Perfect Child, little Lord Fauntleroy, and who knows what else y’all called me behind my back and the ones I have gained in the last 5 years. I am amazed at the subtle ways God is molding me still, smoothing the rough places, firming up the insecurities, giving shape to the person I believe God created me to be often times as I kick and scream trying to keep the shape from forming.
I could ( I won’t) but I could make a list of all the terrible things that have happened to me in the past decade. None of us make it through a year, much less a decade, without significant scars, bumps and bruises to the soul. I could, (I won’t) but I could make a list of all the failures, the bucket list items I didn’t achieve and the places I have not gone.
That is a fruitless way to look at life. Risk requires failure at times to succeed. Life has it’s share of difficulties, none of us escape trouble, and often times it defines us in positive ways, a refiners fire of sorts. There is simply too much life to do it all. It would be like drinking from a fire hydrant while riding in one of those really fast trains that are in Europe… or is it China? If you do that much and never stop to enjoy the moment, are you living or just having experiences?
So this morning as the coffee brews, as my body recovers from a morning jog, as my mind races with gratitude for the past 10 years and my mind dreams about what I might have to say 10 years from today (Pumpkin will be 12 and Goose 10- Oh Lord give us strength! And who knows who else might be around then?) I decided it best to stop and reflect on the moment. Stop and smell the roses. Stop and listen to God. Stop and thank God for the many blessings.
Thirty is still quite new to me and let me just say, boy oh boy am I excited to be here!
Thank you all who read this and are integral in shaping who we are as the Barlow Bunch. We love you all and I am sure we don’t say it enough!
|Some of the family I am so grateful to have in my life!|