HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

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!

About tmrichmond3

I am the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Medford, Oregon. I believe that faith should be able to sustain us, not oppress us.
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One Response to HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  1. Tim says:

    Your blog today shares some themes with Stopping. Not just how many times we may have made the same mistakes or perhaps applied the same solution, but have we grown? Has our relationship with God grown over the years, have we grown with it, or are we applying the same solutions, preaching the same sermons, making the same mistakes, and failing to learn from them? I ask myself these questions.

    You have also brought up questions which I’m not sure I can answer myself at this moment. First, do we remember the miles. After all, we’ve heard the journey is the destination…well how much of the journey do you remember, did you stop to smell the roses? What did we miss along the way? I so want to be able to remember all those miles. Second what do all these orbits of the sun really mean to us? Are we moving with purpose or are we just moving? Are we being carried along? Do we know where we want to be? Do we know where God wants us to be?

    Recently, having been thrust into a situation where my great grandchildren are now staying with us, I discovered I had forgotten all my parenting skills, or else they were inadequate in the first place. Things I did with my children just did not seem to work with these. I asked myself if it was me or if it was them. I found it was me. I am older, slower, more grumpy, less tolerant and patient. This was a real slam to my ego…really. I had always thought myself patient. I raised 2 special needs children, of course I’m patient….well maybe not so much. So many things that rolled off my back then just don’t roll so well, and yet other things that would have sent me up a wall don’t affect me so much. I decided I had to roll with the punches, make each day a day unto itself and stop judging the kids and myself based upon past performance. This freed me up a bit to try some new things and also to let myself off the hook. My pride and fear was keeping me back from really trying to parent these children. I was a good parent so naturally I can do this, right? No, not the way I did it before…because as you said, I’m a different guy than that parent of 20 and 30 years ago. I have different views, different habits and different expectations and all of those weigh into the situation. This is how I found some relief, some sanity in trying to take each day as it comes. These kids need a place to grow and perhaps I need them to grow as well. Its the journey, right? Happy Birthday my friend, I’m just an orbit and a few days behind you.

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