Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:6-11
Birthday number 64 came and went and I have to tell you I feel a lot less seventh-decade-ish than I did back when I turned 60. In many ways I believe I am significantly younger than I was four years ago.
Part of it is the fact that I weigh a good twenty pounds less than I did in 2016. Come to think about it that’s over 10% of my body weight! The other part of the equation is that my spirit is lighter too.
Well, lighter but at the same time more substantial:
- More substantial in the sense that I am doing a better job of recognizing and shoring up the understanding that who I am is best grasped in relation to God;
- lighter inasmuch as I understand, “caste all your anxiety on him because he cares for you…”
No social distancing – just physical:
It was an unusually quiet birthday, of course. But family were most certainly not socially distant, just physically. Other than partying with the neighbors (above), there was a wonderful video chat with the family in Germany (Andrew, Alicia, and Mr. T.); Facetime with the Miami crew; literally hundreds of messages of celebration and love from Facebook; many more via this blog.
Rebekah scored some remarkable pizza delivery – #SupportLocalRestaurants – and the day was literally saturated with love on the home front.
Life is fragile – love is not:
Then – and this is where birthdays prime us with a sense of time beyond time, and the fact that we are so much more than this mortal frame of flesh and blood – there have been and are events all around that speak so much to the fragility and mortality of this journey we experience as life.
My friend David traveled to California to say goodbye to his father, the global pandemic continues to take its devastating toll, and this morning (in Sunbury-on-Thames) my uncle John Salmon came to the conclusion of his storied life, having served as a pastor, a missionary, and an accomplished encourager via his unique presence and larger-than-life persona.
If ever there was as time to understand that life is not so well measured in years as it is in purpose it is now. In a sense, life is complete because we are God’s dearly loved children, and that is true irrespective of how many trips we take around the sun. And so if ever there was a time to live into the truth of that love then it is now, to live gratefully and completely.
As Rebekah said – and I’m paraphrasing – in one of her recent video blogs, “Sometimes my text auto-corrects ‘love’ to ‘live.’ But I’m going to stop changing it back because, in Christ, are they not (or should they not be?) essentially the same thing?”
Because life, and our living of it, must be defined by love – DEREK
Here are the official “birthday photos”
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.