Last Thursday I celebrated my 60th birthday. It was a full day trying to take care of preparations for a small party that night with some couples from our community group and some who are involved with us through Wellspring. Friday afternoon through this afternoon we took care of our five grandchildren to give Jonathan and Laurie a weekend off so this is the first time I’ve really had time to pause and reflect on my birthday.
Thursday morning my melancholy streak kicked in as I reflected on some of the losses of our lives including the loss of my parents at an early age.
I have now lived fifteen years longer than my father and ten years longer than my mother. I’ve survived a benign brain tumor and had numerous skin cancers. I am deeply grateful to be alive and healthy, although the longer I live the more I yearn for the “shalom” of heaven! The older I get the more I realize how much I missed in losing my parents when I was just twenty and twenty five.
I can, at times, be overwhelmed by the depth of my brokenness and the mistakes I’ve made. Then when I face the pain and experience the depth of God’s grace I see the red thread of redemption growing ever more clearly in my story. That lifts me up and gives me hope and courage to press on ever more deeply into the love and purposes of God for my life.
That thread was certainly evident during our small celebration with friends and our son Jonathan. We had a light hearted time of sharing humorous impressions of me sprinkled in with some more serious ones. As we shared, laughed and cried together I saw redemption in the lives and faces of those with me and I was humbled and grateful.
Jonathan’s sharing was particular meaningful as he has certainly experienced the brokenness of my life. He is creative, thoughtful, and expresses himself well. His theme was Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road not Taken” and his perception that I’ve chosen to consistently take the road less traveled. He focused on sharing six areas of my life that stand out to him, some funny, some serious.
Jonathan gave me objects to remember each area. “Your approach to God has been childlike and full of wonder. It’s taken you to places you never could have known otherwise.” To commemorate that area he gave me Dr. Seuss’ book, “Oh the Places You Will Go.” I read it for the first time this afternoon and tears came to my eyes. It certainly speaks of the ups and downs of my life and then ends with: “So…today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”
Through Jonathan’s creative thoughtfulness, humorous insights, and affirmation I felt loved, honored, humbled and very grateful for redemption!
Mary then shared and completed the gift of redemption. No one has experienced my brokenness as deeply as her, yet she has allowed God to work grace and forgiveness into her life and redemption into our relationship. Tears come to my eyes as I read again her loving affirmation of our years together, the gift we gave each other of the sanctuary of our yard in Dothan, the gift she is giving me to follow the call of God on our lives now in Atlanta, and her deep desire to grow old together. I do indeed pray that Mary and I will have the privilege of growing old enjoying the awe inspiring grace of God in our lives, families and friends.
So with that grace filling my life and the echoes of God’s voice coming through my friends, my wife and son I will lift the sails of my life and venture into the unknown of these the best years of my life with all of you!
Tue, March 12, 2013
by Larry Bolden