On the Eve of My 40th Birthday

On the eve of my 40th birthday

I resonate with this dreary gray

Not because I’m half a breakdown away from a mid-life crisis

But because there’s just so much I want to say

Life has been busy. La la la. Everyone’s life is busy, right? I know that. And I hate playing the busy card. Yet here we are, smack dab in the middle of the busiest time I’ve ever known.

And it’s true: I turn 40 tomorrow and I’m not loving that. I know it’s not considered PC or Christian to care about your age like it makes one squat bit of difference. I don’t fear being old, but I don’t love the process of getting there. This age, this 40, I see it in others’ eyes – to those who are younger, my age has lost all credibility. To those who are older, my age hasn’t yet gained any in the first place.

I sit here on my last night of my 30’s doing what I’ve been doing for weeks, nay, years: being present. Little boys attempt to drift off to sleep, but want someone nearby while they do. And so I sit. This is what I do.

And I fume over some issues with their case and the way several conversations with their caseworker has gone lately as they seem to be power play related and I can’t for the life of me figure out why she, who is the first to critique where they’ve been, doesn’t pull a little more for us as we also try to help these boys have the best life they can.

Because this is just not the way things are supposed to be.

And I fume over my emotionally perceived injustice that our 13-month-old was removed from us earlier this month so that he could be in another foster home with two of his biological siblings. Yes, I understand why it happened, I just didn’t love the three hour notice. Oh, and we miss him.

Because this is just not the way things are supposed to be.

And I mourn over the continued struggle I see in my mom as she battles ALS and the way my dad is caring for her.

Because this is just not the way things are supposed to be.

And maybe that’s the thing. Maybe I’ve been waiting for 40 years for things to become as they ought and I’m finally realizing that not only is that never going to happen, life is just going to continue rearing back its ugly effects of the fall and fire bombing them out in all directions.

Our church, for as much as I love it, will never be perfect. Because look who attends it.

Our school, for as ideal as I think it is, is never going to be all things to all people. Because we have a lot of different people who attend it.

Our health, for as thankful as I am for the current age we live in and our accessibility to treatment and prevention options, is not going to hold out forever. And even if I make an idol out of good healthy living, or abandon my responsibilities altogether, there will always be things out of my control.

And I sit here thinking that if I were going to sugar coat where I am, I would be saying, “This is the best time ever!” And yet my heart is heavy because it isn’t. And I know it never will be. And I understand why. But just the same, I wish it were.

 

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