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The Second Sunday in May

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June 2014 • On Turning 30

June 9, 2014

     Around the time that this little essay goes to print, I will be turning 30. I’m not at all sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I don’t think I like it at all. Kids are starting to call me “Mister.” The students whom I teach are not familiar with some of the pop cultural references with which I grew up. Conversely, I often don’t know their pop stars or television shows or some the social media through which they communicate with their friends. On the other hand, I suppose I should feel grateful that I’ve lived this long and have a life full of so many blessings. To be honest, I don’t really care to stay up to date with some of those things that are so important for one’s status in adolescence or young adulthood. In turning 30, I can breathe a bit easier and let go of some of the anxiety that accompanies adolescence and young adulthood, while also orienting myself toward and bracing myself for the anxieties that accompany adulthood—decisions related to families, health, careers, finances, etc.     When thinking about all of this, what stands out to me isn’t one particular set of decisions that come with getting older, but rather how quickly time passes. I’ve heard older adults say my entire life that “time flies by,” and it supposedly only goes by faster the more one ages. On a more pessimistic day, this would sadden me. Today, though, I’m trying to keep in the forefront of my mind that this is a necessary and inevitable part of life, and, most importantly, that this neither cheapens life nor reduces its meaningfulness. If anything, I think it should cause us to pause and slow down a bit—to reflect on and be thankful for our lives—to treasure and appreciate the time that we do have with loved ones and the rest of the richly diverse and beautiful world in which we live. Thinking on such things has led me to search and yearn for the deeper levels of beauty and meaning that permeate our world, our relationships, and the work we do in conjunction with the ever active spirit of God. As a student recently wrote in one of my classes, she’s looking for people who are willing to have conversations about things that matter – things that really matter. She wants to be in community with people who are actively doing things that matter – things that really matter. I’m now starting to get some sense of just how quickly life can move along and, if we’re not intentional and awake, then the things that really matter can slip through our hands or pass us by without us ever truly realizing it. Like my student, I’m trying to find ways to establish healthy rituals and patterns in my life that simultaneously keeps my energy away from those things that don’t really matter and helps me invest my time and energy in those that do. To state it differently, I don’t want to just do busy work for Christ. Instead, I want to join Him in those practices of Sabbath-taking and justice-making in which Christ is already present and working. Thankfully, these spaces in our world are not age-specific. Christ doesn’t restrict access to these elements of joy, beauty, and righteousness. One only needs eyes to see and ears to hear. To have those things, we simply have to stop for a moment, or several moments, and cultivate the ground of our souls such that this type of sight and hearing are possible. The good Lord willing and the creek not rising, I look forward to continuing on with this work with the good folks in my life who are interested in similar things—things that really matter.

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