Fifty Years

Last week I wrote that this week’s blog would focus on identifying and uprooting the weeds in our lives. But I ran into some interference. This past weekend I had the pure joy of participating in the 50th reunion of my high school graduating class. What a fabulous time. And it has led to many reflections.

The first is that life has changed. Things are different now than they were in 1967. For example the 1967 year end Dow Jones Industrial Average was 905. The average cost of new house was $14,250.00, average income was $7,300.00, gas cost 28-33 cents per gallon, a new car $2,750.00 and the Federal Minimum Wage increased to $1.40 an hour. And check out the average professional athlete salaries: NFL – 25,000, NBA – 20,000, and the MLB – 19, 000. Life has changed.

Then, too, when we herd the word ‘text’ we thought of a schoolbook. A Facebook meant mug shots of potential criminals. Twitter was most likely the name of a bird. A laptop was the place where kids sat to get love from grandma & grandma. And if you had a blue tooth it meant a trip to the dentist. Life has changed.

Second, as we dedicated some time to memorializing those of our classmates who have passed from this life I felt a renewed sense of gratitude for life itself.

A third reflection has to do with our shared history. The preacher, in Ecclesiastes 3 said there is a time to be born and a time to die and neither is of our own choosing. So we classmates were brought together by our date of birth and place of residence, neither of our own choosing, and yet were bound together forever. We were peers, friends, sometimes competitors. We learned together, worked together, played together, laughed together, cried together, and grew together. Friendships were forged, memories made, and bonds built. Our lives were deeply intertwined – all because the Lord of history many years ago merged our lives and histories into one. So for two nights we came together – not to complain about where or when we were born or gripe about how life has treated us, but to get reacquainted and to celebrate and share how, though apart, we have lived out our common history throughout the years and to rejoice in how far we’ve come and where we are.

The Psalmist expresses my feelings well: “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6) Much has changed in my life over the years. Much has happened over the years – much wonderful much painful. But I am still given the gift of life. And I have a a long history not only with great family, friends and untold numbers of acquaintances, but with God. I can complain about things that have happened or about how life has treated me, or I can rejoice in how far I’ve come and where I am. I choose the latter. No matter what has happened or will happen, I have a delightful inheritance. I know who and whose I am. “I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has also set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.” (Heidelberg Catechism #1) Now that’s worth celebrating and sharing every day.