Yesterday was my birthday, which means I have ridden this rock around the sun 56 times. That means something, although I am not sure what. I guess that longevity counts for something, although in our our culture it is more a drawback than an advantage. But there is something about the sheer accumulation of years, that is like the accumulation of miles. The length means something, but only as much as you put into it.
I once met someone who said they spent six weeks in Europe. I asked if they had been to some of my favorite haunts, and they could not remember where they went. They vaguely remembered Paris and Rome, because those were Important Places, but almost nothing in between. The miles meant almost nothing. I say almost because they did indicate a least a willingness to travel, but then, for all I know, her husband just dragged her along.
The same is true of time. I was sitting in the office of one of my mentors, Jim Watson, when the phone rang. During the conservation I heard Jim say, “That’s not true. He does not have nine years of experience, he has three years three times.” He was being asked for a job reference for a pastor, who had claimed he had nine years of experience. In fact he had served three different churches, each for three years, and according to Jim, he just replicated the three years. He did the same things, made the same mistakes, and even gave a lot of the same sermons.
I have fifty-six years of experience in life, although I wonder how much that equals in Real Years, years that I actually learned something. I want to think that I have mostly progressed. I am not the same person I was five years ago, much less a year ago. Fifty-six years means something. I have learned something over time, and I guess we’ll find out how much as this blog progresses.
Happy trip around the sun!