Nothing like looking at a picture of the people you graduated high school with…50 years ago to get one thinking about time travel. I mean where on earth did all that time go? Who is that old woman in the mirror? How did I come to have a son who will be 48 years old in January? Not to mention his siblings who are all in their 40’s. Honestly, in my head I do not feel like a senior citizen. I feel like I have been catapulted to 2013, but in moments of sanity, of which there are few, the truth sinks in and the memories of a lifetime swell up.
On good days, I remember going away to college for the first time, to Oklahoma State University. I remember meeting Terry there and falling head over heels in lust, followed by a love that has grown through out the 49 years we have been married. I remember the births of my children, their growing up years. I remember my Aunt Agnes, who came to me in 1974 and offered to pay my tuition and books to attend the University of Tulsa and finish my education, which I had abandoned when I married and had a family. I remember so many good times, but then….
On bad days, I remember the difficulties Terry and I experienced in our marriage and with our finances. I remember clearly every time I yelled at my children. I remember my Dad’s illness and death. I remember the loss of Terry’s sister to cancer. I remember coming to a point after I had finished my education at TU, had a Master’s Degree and an excellent job, when I considered ending it all. But then….
A number of people came into my life each bringing hope and that hope was in Jesus Christ. Oh, I had walked the aisle, accepted Christ, been baptized (twice actually, another story), and yet I had not really committed my life. I had never surrendered myself. I could quote scripture, but I never really let it penetrate my facade. Seeing and knowing people of faith, the palpable sort of faith that shines through even when life gets pretty dark led me to pull off the road on the way home one night and surrender my life to Christ. “Be Still and know that I am God.” [Psalm 46:10] those are the words I heard, a whisper in the darkness. I was like Elijah in the cave, expecting God to be in the wind, the earthquake, the fire..but instead, He whispered.
As I indicated above, I still battle the bad memories, mostly of my own sins, but I know when they happen that God does not send them and I can say with conviction, “Away from me, Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ.” I can also take those sins, those times that mock me and use them to help others, to point others to hope in Christ Jesus.
So 50 years has past. And yet, I feel that each day God gives me opens new adventures, new chances to grow and to serve. I cannot blow my horn for anything I have done in this life because I would have to list all my failures in another column and believe me that would take the wind out of my horn.
I am not wise, I am not strong
I am not able to influence the throngs
The good I’ve done doesn’t change the wrong
Everything I am, the words to every song,
proclaim The Lord to whom I belong.
In a Bible Study almost 30 years ago, I memorized Jeremiah 9:23,24:
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
And today, contemplating the 50 years since I graduated from high school, the verses I encountered were in The Message from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31:
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
So whatever God wants to do with me, I am his and I am going to blow my horn for God.