When I turned 50, my mom held a lovely party for me. The occasion, in my opinion, warranted a speech from the guest of honor – me! Here is that speech:
Well, it happened. I turned 50. I’ve been anticipating, and more often dreading it for all of 2010. During the last months, I’ve found myself wondering whether I look like I’m 50. I’ve noticed other women who are showing a little age and thought that, surely, they must be a couple years older than me! Now there are a few of you who know that 50 is old, because you haven’t reached it yet. But some of you are looking back at 50 and thinking that I’ve been silly to worry about turning such a young age. I know because I’ve laughed at those who dread 30 or 40.
But my thoughts about getting older haven’t all been about the superficial. I’ve wondered whether I’m getting wiser as I get older. At times, when I’ve felt immature in some way, I’ve told myself “You’re almost 50!” with the underlying thought “you should know better.”
To my credit, there have been moments when I’ve appreciated each year of my life, remembering that some are taken by death before reaching this milestone. Life is a gift that should be celebrated! And I’m so glad that each one of you is here today to celebrate with me.
On Wednesday, while I was anticipating this weekend of celebration, I was informed of two rather shocking events that occurred that day. A friend called me at noon to tell me that her brother’s mother-in-law had walked out to her mailbox that morning and was struck by a car and killed. On Wednesday evening, I was asked to pray for a family whose 2 year old daughter had suddenly died. Naturally, my heart went out to both of the families involved. But I also thought a bit about that moment when life on earth ends. Sometimes it comes way too early. Sometimes it seems to take too long. None of us knows when it will be, and none of us can add an hour to our lives by worrying about it.
I have a good friend, who is quite a bit older than me. I’ve mentioned my birthday to her several times, and of course, she doesn’t think 50 is old. When she turned 65 this year, she realized that in another 15 years, she may not be here. So, she decided to make sure that she is living days that count. She tells me “You’re not old. Your age doesn’t matter. What matters is how you are living your life.”
The truth is I may not be here in 15 years. I may reach four or five more milestone birthdays, or this could be my last one. I’m OK with that. Life is a wonderful adventure, and there are many things I look forward to in the years to come. The two unexpected deaths that came on Wednesday remind me that my life could end suddenly. But, death has lost its sting. I have been assured by Jesus that I have already crossed over from death to life.
I have another dear friend who I’m tempted to call my “oldest” friend. She’s not really the oldest, but has been my friend for the longest time. We’re lifelong friends, but we don’t get to see each other very often. Sometimes she writes me a note to tell me what’s going on in her life. She then blesses me by telling me what my friendship means to her and reminds me that we will have all of eternity to be together.
Thank you for celebrating life with me today. I’m not going to take a poll to see whether you think I look like I’m 50 or not. I do plan on focusing on making my days and years count. And, hopefully, I’ve shared a little wisdom.