Tomorrow’s my birthday, so it’s time to put another candle on the cake. The cake is starting to run out of room. Thirty-two candles seems to be a bit much. The aesthetics are off with so many. Maybe 32 cupcakes with one candle each would be better. But then again, that’s a lot of cupcakes.
I still vaguely remember when my birthday was something to look forward to, a sign of progress, another step toward that ever elusive driver’s license. Then, it was another step toward being legal, purchasing alcohol, renting a car, and so on. Now? No idea. Is there anything one can do at 32 that one couldn’t do at 31? Probably not.
My wife enjoys plucking white hairs from my head. This has been happening more frequently the past few months. I go to a chiropractor every Monday morning. When I miss an appointment, I walk at an elderly pace for a while. In college I felt most alive between 10pm-2am. These days I’m dosing off on the couch by about 8:30.
Most people older than me either shake their heads in knowing contempt, or chuckle with an “oh how little you know” smirk when I mention my frustration with aging. Most people younger than me just laugh and confirm that I am quickly and swiftly closing in on senior citizenship. Either way, all of us, young and old, are marching toward the grave, taking step after step in the same direction every moment of every day. But it’s not as hopeless as it sounds. Aging isn’t so bad.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17: “…do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
In some ways, every day is a birthday. Every morning we awake and are born into the newness of what lies ahead. No matter how redundant, trite, or mundane your life may feel, each breath you breathe is new and different and a gift. And though we are getting older, wasting away, new life awaits. I don’t just mean at some point in your future, on the other side of death. New life awaits in each moment, as your old life dies. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Every moment lived is a moment emptied out from our present and lodged into our past. But that empty void is filled with something better, something more eternal, unconfined by the boundaries of time. We are filled with the unending life only God can offer. So maybe we ought to embrace aging. It’s the road by which we journey toward the eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
But then again, I’m only 32. What do I know…