Another Birthday

I write this meditation on what is my birthday, the numeric value of which is a poorly kept secret. As I was walking back to the locker room after my workout today, I wondered how many more birthdays I will have.) I should add that I did not think that because my workout was a near-death experience!) Immediately, the thought came to me that we never know how many more birthdays we will have, regardless of our age. We assume that, if we are young, we will have many more. And if we are of a certain age, we think maybe not so many more. Statistically, such assumptions make sense: young people will most likely live for many years and older folks will live for a lesser number of years. But as I say to my Death and Dying class every September: "Most of you in this class will outlive me." I get really interesting looks every time I say that. College-age students are immortal, at least in their own minds, just as I was at that age. But every college and university I have served has known the deaths of students, before, during and after the time that I was there. I have come to look at my birthday as a day of thanksgiving, not of lament. I love waking up each morning and I really do look forward to each day. When I was in college, I had a dream that I had died. In the dream, I stood by my graveside and felt sadness as I watched everyone walk from my grave. I was sad, because I was going to miss so much. People I loved would go on with their lives, and I wouldn't be there to share in the adventures any longer. I am guessing I will indeed feel that way when the time comes for me to leave this world, because I won't get to be a part of all of the activities. But, overall, I hope that each one of each can be grateful for each day that we are given, because life is such a joy and privilege. Jesus had it right in the Sermon on the Mount:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you--you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34