I turned fifty years old this week. Wow. The years go by so quickly, and I can’t remember a time that I ever imagined myself being fifty. It seems odd being fifty—maybe because I don’t feel fifty.
Obviously I haven’t posted in nearly two years. Less obvious is the fact that I haven’t been very active in search and rescue over the past few years, either. Part of it is simply that our family life has gotten busier, but most of the reason I haven’t made much time for the pursuits of this blog is that the job I started some forty months ago has a tendency to wear me out. It continues to be a physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual adjustment for me. I’m not complaining—in fact and in a bit of irony, the job has helped me to develop a new appreciation for the phrase, “it is what it is.”
But the point of this post is that for my birthday, my wife gave me what is quite possibly the best gift I’ve ever been given (well, aside from marriage, kids, and the really big things). She surprised me with a trip to a monastery outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’ve been here for three days and three nights, and I leave in the morning. I’ve been using the time to get some rest and return to some large writing projects that have been sitting around dormant for a long time. It’s been great. Quiet. Peaceful. Simple. I needed it more than I realized.
And of course, being reminded anew of religion and spirit is never a bad thing. I am not Catholic in the formal sense of the word, but I appreciate much about the faith. Catholicism excels in understanding the need for liturgy, tradition, icons, and all the other forms of symbols that help remind Man of the otherness of God. The mental and physical participation in the application of those symbols helps one to feel that the totality of his being is partaking in the divine. I lament that Protestantism is not uniformly stronger in this area.
And so this morning I went and knelt in front of the rows of candles outside the little cathedral here, lighting one for each of my daughters, thanking God for the unspeakable blessings they are in my life, and praying that whatever becomes of me in life, that their lives will always be rich and deep and full in their dedication and service to God. I prayed that they may always know the unfathomable mysteries and depths of his Love, and for him to always hold them closely, dearly to his Being.
A few minutes ago a wave of instantaneous and deep joy swept over and through me, and as I heard inside myself the words, “I have a good life. I have a good life.” thoughts and feelings and images of my wife and daughters flowed across the canvas of my mind’s eye. Tears spontaneously came to my eyes. It’s true. I have a good life. I have a good life.
And the point of this post is simply to say to my wife and daughters that they—each of them individually, and all of them together—are the reason my life is good. I love them so deeply there are no words. On earth they are all that matters to me. With them I have everything, without them I have nothing.
All glory and honor and praise be given to our God of Love in his infinite Grace and Mercy—
for I am fifty, and I have a good life.