21 October 2019

Plans and Providence: Reflections on Turning 38

Editor's Note: These are some thoughts I published on the Facebook while miserably sick on my birthday. 

It has been a delight to see so many kind birthday wishes rolling in from people all over the country today. Thank you all for making my day even sweeter!

A few folks have expressed hopes that I would receive my desires or enjoy a meaningful celebration today.

I can assure you I am having perhaps the most memorable birthday of my life today, through no planning of my own. And since I find myself with some downtime to fill, I shall share it with you, Dear Reader!

Here is how I expected today to go:

0430 - Rise for a workout with the incomparable Keith Fine at Fitrition.
0600 - Home for a refreshing shower, coffee, breakfast, and abundant affection from my sweet family.
0800 - A day of pleasant, productive, stimulating work at Kalos, Inc., writing code and spending time with people I deeply like and admire.
1630 - Leave for Lawrence with my splendiferous wife Magen to enjoy the world’s best nachos at Taco Zone and a Drew Holcomb concert with my dear friends and sibs, Joe and Jessie Hawkinson.
2300 or so (?) - Collapse into my bed, exhausted but sated with good things. Sleep with the windows open, hearing autumn noises, feeling the chilly breeze, and nestling gratefully under my down comforter.

Great plan, huh? Here’s what happened instead:

0230: Awake for no apparent reason.
0235: Intense intestinal discomfort.
0236: Disgusting Symptoms. Oh well, at least it’s not the Really Disgusting Symptoms.
0255: The Really Disgusting Symptoms.
0300 - Fitful rest and standup comedians on YouTube. Enjoy the repetition of the Symptoms many times.
0430, maybe? - Start calling in so trainer and job are aware.
0500 - Sleep! Praise Jesus!
0540 - Awake, Really Disgusting Symptom, sleep.
0730 - Awake, say goodbye to saintly wife who is removing all the children from our home.

“Sorry your birthday is ruined,” she says.

“It’s ok,” I say. “Not really into birthdays anyway. Just another day closer to my inevitable death.”

“You’re a mess,” she says. “But I guess being sick actually makes it easier to see your own mortality, so... it’s kind of a perfect gift for you.”

I laugh so hard that I soon find myself lunging toward the bathroom in order to prevent a Disgusting Symptom from getting all over my sheets.

0800 - Lie in bed watching Netflix, contemplating my mortality, and occasionally getting up to do various Symptoms.

And that is where I am even now, O ye persistent witness to my Symptom-redolent woes!

I normally try to avoid excessive pontification, but as the Bard says, “It’s my party and I’ll pontificate if I want to... you would pontificate too if it happened to you.”

Seriously, though, just a few thoughts before I go back to a fun-filled afternoon of vegetating and doing Symptoms:
  1. I don’t often get a chance to sit around doing nothing all day. It’s kind of fun every once in a while.
  2. I was struck by how much my birthday plan resembles a normal day. What delight and beauty and joy and health I often overlook!
  3. My death truly is approaching. I dwell in a mortal body, and this makes me want to live life to the fullest. It also makes me look forward to the New Creation and the redemption of my body. Come, Lord Jesus.
  4. At Hutchmoot, a feast that I had the privilege of attending last week, someone reminded me, “God always gives what we need when we need it.” That, more than anything else, has been the theme of this year for me. I both believe it and truly thank the Lord for this disgustingly providential opportunity to believe it better.
So, the short answer, and one without any hint of irony: It’s been a great birthday so far, and my deepest longings are being fulfilled.

1 comment:

Doug said...

I wish I could say I read your writings with baited breath and religious regularity. I wish I could say I knew you were a gift writer before this evening. My friends wish I was bald. That last statement has nothing to do with the others, but I think it's true. I intend to appease them someday. But enough about me and my needs.

This post was refreshing. Also amusing. Also refreshing.

I was in your marvelous city this afternoon tuning a piano for a family from TGC that you probably know relatively well, and enjoyed tremendous fellowship. On my way home, I decided to start calling a bunch of people who also live in your fair city, to rant about how much I liked being there. Never mind that it's only an hour from my apartment, it might as well as be ten hours, as I rarely visit for reasons unbeknownst to me. With some dose of irony, I have commuted nearly that far in the opposite direction for church activities numerous times a week for the past seven years...

It's taking me awhile to find my way to making my point. Sometime tonight, I decided to check in on websites of several of our mutual friends' churches (TGC, TBC, L&LBC, FBC, SWTBC and a few other acronyms probably) to see if there was anything new and/or interesting, and was saddened to discover one that closed recently where you had served as an elder for XX years... or at least X years... and found myself wondering how you were doing, and realizing I've not reached out in forever.

And I found this blog (after finding a few other blogs and forums you participate), and realized upon reading just a little bit of your writings that I've been missing out for awhile. We've some similarity in style, except you're humbler, succincter, and way funnier. More funnier. Funtabulous. Praying for you, and would love to catch up sometime and learn how to write sentences that others will want to read. :-)

My phone is six two zero, two hundred, two thousand forty-five. This is for the benefit of telemarketing bots who don't realize I've been dying to hear from them, but want them to feel the satisfaction of working for it.