Birthday Hope

I found myself in the early hours of the morning, awake but waiting for the alarm clock to make it official for me to be so. Kim muttered in her sleep, oblivious to me or the dawn that waited quietly, holding an unsteady peace for yet a little while longer before thrusting its welcoming light through our window. As I became cognizant of the day ahead of me, my responsibilities and duties, in the far away distance I overheard the rumble of an early morning freight train barreling through McNeill. Interspersed with those rumbles were the calling barks of an indistinct dog, and I wondered when Tink would come and get me to open the door for her so she could go out and investigate. The air conditioner kicked on, breaking me from my reverie by diminishing those interloping sound bites from the world beyond my bed.

I reached over and aborted the alarm clock from its thankless mission, and rose despite the symphony of newly discovered pains in various joints that I’ve learned to call my own. As I made my way down the hallway to the television and the ever-waiting Tinkerbelle, it occurred to me that today was, in fact, my birthday. It gave me pause, exciting me and flustering me at the same time. The excitement stems from a long, dormant portion of my memory hidden by years passed, of a time when birthdays were special and meant no more than presents and cake. The fluster revolves around birth-date recall, and the addition and subtraction required these days to decipher how old I’ve actually become. Let’s see now, 2010, uh, minus 1962, equals uh, forty-eight. Forty Eight???? What tha… how tha? Followed quickly by the obligatory: Where did all those years go?

They’re not so bad really, these special dates we call birthdays. They should be much more than just an annual measuring stick of days gone by. It’s a time for a reflection of the past year, and a time to set goals for the year that begins anew on that date. The calendar turns, yet the Kingdom of Hope continues, and I hope it stays that way for me as I delve ever onward into my twilight years. The writer of Proverbs understood this inspired concept, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Despite the abundant evidence of a broken world, I choose to believe in G_d’s unchanging grace and trust in Him because He holds my future in His hands. That’s important, because left to my own devices, I only see the world through the jaded glasses of someone who has read too much and seen far more than he should have. In the perspective of those glasses, bad appears to be winning and good is no more than a dark horse favorite by this part of the journey. Without faith, a strong faith, the doorway to cynicism is the only one that remains unlocked; beckoning me to enter. There could be no other choice for me. But I have a faith that gives me hope, and in turn, hope shares her vision with me.

Her vision tells me that one day I will reach maturity and the stupid things I am prone to do will no longer plague me in life. You’d think I would be there by this point, but all of the internal polling data proves otherwise. With faith and a vision, however, anything is possible.

Her vision tells me that my marriage will only get sweeter as the years go by. A love born of caring and fashioned by so much more than fate will continue to grow; blossoming into something beyond the realm of the merely normal or mundane as we grow old together.

Her vision tells me my children will grow and mature in their own way, and that I’ll be able to grasp the concept that it is supposed to be as such. Their very own faith, instilled by a firm hand that pushed them toward G_d at a young age, will prove to be more than enough to do so. Keagan will pass nursing school. Sheena and Brandon will achieve all of their goals. Scott, KT, and Parker will grow, with Scott now the head of his own little family. Tyler will manage to survive junior high.

Her vision reminds me that things will work out. Life will go on. The bills will get paid. The job will get done. Time will always heal. The blog will get written.

Most of all, this vision shared with me by hope through the faith I have in One who is bigger than I is sure to pervade my consciousness long beyond my birthday.

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