Today is just another day in my life.
However, it is not just considered another day.
This day is to be celebrated above all other days in the calendar year.
At least for me.
Today is my birthday.
Yep, that’s right.
Many years ago my mom was toiling in labor to bring me into this world.
My father was celebrating the birth of his second child.
His first son.
He did not know I would be his only son.
And so today I celebrate my birthday.
In American culture, this birthday seems to carry more importance than most.
For some reason, which I have yet to understand, this time around is considered more significant.
Why is that?
What makes the 30th birthday so unique?
I don’t earn any new privileges like I did when I was 16.
I wasn’t given new rights as I was on the 18th celebration of my birth.
I am not allowed legally to do anything that I wasn’t before like when I turned 21.
And yet, there is an emphasis placed upon this event eludes me.
Why is 30 focused on so much more than turning 29?
I suppose maybe it’s the fact of completing another decade.
After all, it was much easier for the Romans to carve XXX than XXIX.
Just now, looking at that last sentence, I realize something spectacular.
Not having thought of this before, it makes me smile.
God has just reaffirmed in me something I have been feeling lately.
Want to know what it is?
I’ll tell you a little later on in this post.
For now, I want to take a little trip down memory lane and review some of the events that stand out in my life.
* 11MAY76 – Born in Poughkeepsie, New York – a place I have never returned to and have no recollection of
* 1982 – Moved with the family to St. Charles, Missouri from Arlington, Texas
* 1985 – Transferred from Null Elementary School (public) to Living Word Christian School (private)
* 16MAY85 – Accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior while in school
* Spring 1986? – Was baptized by Dad at Highland View Baptist Church – not sure of exact date
* Fall 1990 – Began home schooling
* May 1994 – Graduated from high school
* Fall 1994 – Began taking courses at St Charles County Community College
* Fall 1996 – Transferred to Northwest Missouri State University – lived in residence halls
* 01MAY99 – Graduated from College with a B.S. in Geography, minor Computer Science
* Fall 1999 – Began classes at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville – moved into small apartment in Edwardsville
* Spring 2000 – Spent two weeks living in New Melle, MO then moved into apartment on Parkcrest
* Fall 2003 – Started dating Lisa Brail
* Spring 2004 – Engaged to Lisa
* August 2004 – I moved into the apartment at Aberdeen – Lisa moved in her stuff
* 25SEP04 – Married Lisa in front of family outdoors at the Bonney house in Greenville, IL
* December 2004 – Adopted our cat, whom we named Bell
* March 2005 – Moved into our first house on Golfway, where we still live
* Summer 2005 – Lisa decides she wants to be a nurse – starts taking prerequisite classes at community college
* Fall 2005 – Lisa is accepted into Accelerated Nursing program at university of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) and will start the program on Monday (15MAY06)
And that’s a very brief overview of what might be considered important events in my life.
But now I want to highlight some of what I consider key moments in my life.
* Watching my kindergarten classmates snatch the inflated “Letter People” character from its hiding space and toss it around the room until some kid popped it with the point of his pencil. We put it back and the teacher only found out when she went to pull it out for our alphabet lesson. She wasn’t happy and we felt bad for about a day I think.
* Driving from Texas to Illinois in the Summer to visit with Grandma/Grandpa Walker and coming upon the bridge into Chester, Illinois through the fog and seeing the statue of Popeye – I still remember that experience
* Practicing tee ball with Sonja and Dad and watching him chase those punk kids off – saw him jump a few fences and couldn’t believe he was chasing them down. Was even more shocked when he went to their home and confronted the parents.
* Hurting my neck while jumping on a “moonwalk” trampoline at Chuck E Cheese – pulled muscles in my neck and spent the summer in a neck brace
* Walking into our house at Cole and being amazed at the thought of having two levels instead of one and having a creek that ran through our back yard.
* Getting “lost” at Sesame Place while on family vacation to Texas. Somehow I got separated from the family and was alone near the ball pit. It is the first time I remember truly feeling frightened and alone.
* Being constipated while on that same Texas vacation while we were at Mrs. Kaylor’s house. This was my first experience with my body revolting against me without doing anything stupid to deserve it.
* Sticking my finger into every coin return slot of every vending machine and arcade game while on our vacation, finding all sorts of loose change. Mom finally told me to let Jessi(or was it Sonja) get the ones at the next stop and I think she pulled out a bug.
* Getting hit in the back with the tetherball pole that was in our back yard by the German kid from down the street
* Jumping over a snow bank and tearing a gash through my left knee. Stayed out and kept playing for a long time. Came in and had to peal my pants off the wound and did everything I could to stop the bleeding. Walked around for two days with my legs straight as a board to help the healing process and avoid having to go to the doctor. Should have had several stitches.
* Watching Sonja wrecking her bike and body into that wooden fence post up Principia and thinking she was going to die from it.
* Flipping over my handlebars on Droste while riding my bike to church – shattered a bone in my wrist and cracked a bone in my arm (ulna?)
* Rubbing my nipples off while body surfing on a cloth raft on vacation in Myrtle Beach
* Breaking my nose while on vacation in Daytona Beach – “Is my nose bleeding?”
* Wrecking my 1983 Thunderbird under a semi while traveling 60mph on I-70 during rush hour – driving off without a scratch or bruise.
* Sitting bored through my college commencement, glad that I had brought a bunch of candy in under my gown. The people in my row were incredibly glad I had it too…
* Discovering that I am lactose intolerant and realizing that ice cream truly was my enemy, yet loving it all the same
* Getting contacts to correct my vision, which had slowly deteriorated to the point of needing glasses all of the time.
* Wrecking the Escort headfirst into a 200lb deer while going 65mph on I-270 in Illinois. Walked away with a burn on my thigh from the airbag and some muscle soreness in my back.
Reading through that list helps me to better appreciate what God has done in my life to bring me to where I am today.
And that brings me back to my earlier spectacular thought.
Numerically, the difference between 29 and 30 is only 1 year.
However, written in Roman numerals, that difference comes from dropping the I from the middle of it all.
Did you catch that?
Yeah, I think that is quite cool and appropriate for where I am today.
Over the past few weeks, I feel as if God has been telling me that I need to decrease so He can increase that much more. I haven’t been in the Word enough lately and it is starting to drain my passion for God - and that isn’t what I want. I want to become less egocentric and more God-focused. I want to be more like Paul in his “I have become all things to all men, so that I might save some”. I want to be the man that God has called me to be and live a life that is pleasing to Him everyday. I need to live more intentionally and less inhibited for the Kingdom.
There is so much to improve upon.
But yet, in this moment I see where God has brought me and what He has brought me through. I am so thankful for that.
He has blessed me to live for 30 years on this earth.
Now I need to live like I know what He has done for me, because I do.
Earlier I questioned why people emphasize this birthday more than others.
Here’s why I am celebrating my 30th birthday as a special occasion:
Christ started His earthly ministry when He was 30.
My hope is that I might reflect Him more this year than in my past and grow closer to Him than I am in the present.
To live a life that is pleasing to God, this is my reasonable act of worship.
May I live it out more than year than those in my past.
May I never forget how far God has brought me and trust that He will carry me as far as He wants me to go…