Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thirty-Six Years

As of this morning, I’ve been living outside the womb for thirty six years. That’s half a lifetime for some, and more than a lifetime for others. I’ve officially outlived Jesus’ time walking the earth by about three years, and I thought it might be a good exercise to step back and reflect a bit.

I can remember being plagued my senior year of high school with a nagging fear that I wouldn’t live to be eighteen, and now I've lived to twice that age. Looking back, it probably came from listening too much to the Doors and to Jim Morrison’s “An American Prayer” album. I never shared this with anyone other than my folks (and now you). But hey, I lived through that (and lots of other music as well).

I remember in high school one of my teachers shared that my generation was predicted to change careers at least six times in our lifetime. Since college, I’ve experienced three career changes, and during high school/college I had three other jobs, so it looks like I’ve met my quota a few years early. For comparison purposes, many in my parents generation have stayed in the first job they ever accepted and worked at it until the day of retirement.

A few years ago, I left a job working as an analytical chemist to pursue a career in ministry (which I left last fall to become a full time fighter of extreme poverty!). When I left my job at Mylan Pharmaceuticals, one of my bosses/friends bought me a book called “There’s Always Time For Greatness” (As a side note, it’s kind of cool/rare to be able to say that in every job I’ve held I have felt like my bosses were also my friends—I still connect with old bosses from previous jobs--just to talk about life).
So this book/gift I received lists off accomplishments that people have made at different ages, and I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the accomplishments made by different folks at age 36.

William Shakespeare writes Hamlet
Albert Einstein announces his general theory of relativity, revolutionizing physics and astronomy.
Francis Crick (along with 25 year old James Watson) discovers the structure of DNA.
Johnny Carson debuts as host of The Tonight Show.
Edgar Allan Poe publishes his most famous poem, The Raven.
William Penn, English Quaker leader, founds Pennsylvania.
Estée Lauder sells her first cosmetics at Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC.

As I look back over the last 36 years, the one word I would use to describe my life is blessed. Now that term can often feel a bit trite and overused in religious circles these days, but it describes at it’s core the feeling I have as I take a few minutes away from my work to write this note. I have a deep and growing relationship with the Creator of the universe. I have a strong sense of who I am, what I was made to do, and why it is significant. I have been given an incredible array of friends who live and work in various places around the world and who feel more like family to me than just “friends” whatever that term means. And my family, well they are nothing short of incredible. I live daily with an unshakable desire that my life and my time on this earth will make a difference in this world. I’m filled with gratitude, and again, I feel incredibly blessed.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings on this 13,149th day of my life. I want to thank you for the way your time, your care, your friendship, and your support have helped me to become more whole, more purposeful, hopefully more of a servant to others.

I also hope that today that you will take the time to reflect on the good that you have seen in your life as well. It’s amazing opportunity we have together—we can be a part of bringing a little more beauty into this world. I hope that I have many days left to live and bring beauty to this earth, and I hope that we can work together toward that end.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read, and may your life be enriched with gratitude, satisfaction, and blessing as well!


T@R@ said...

hope you have a wonderful birthday! i'm glad God created you :)

JeannieMarie said...

Happy Birthday Billy, I hope you have a wonderful day

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Billy! It's been great to get to know you back in 06.
Hope you'll have a great (and long) rest of your earthly life.
Bernd from Bremen

young wife&mom said...

i hope i'm as cool as you when i get as old as you!
happy belated birthday billy. you have certainly been a blessing to me!

Lauren said...

Happy belated! :) God's best to you!