One of the things that catches me surprise at the edge of forty

Is how happy I am. I’m not sure if that fact is ever reflected in this blog. But my blogging has always been something like scratching an itch and it may simply favor my less satisfied moments. Controversy also poisons the whole thing.

But I am.

I wouldn’t normally set out to write about this, but when you turn forty, or have a surprise birthday party, you find lots of people, who wouldn’t normally get that serious with you, ask you questions about how you’re feeling about life.

They want to know where you think you are now, as compared to where you thought you would be.

Well, let’s go back to the summer I graduated in 1989. I was alone. I had no wife. I had no children. This morning I sat in the pew with five others who are mine and to whom I belong. I get to do that every Sunday and eat bread and drink wine (well, exept for the one’s that insist on grape juice–I decided not to turn the Lord’s Supper into a weekly battle).

That long ago I had some aspirations to be a nonfiction writer, mainly in Christianity and politics. I had some success there but eventually decided I wanted to to more proper theology and Bible exposition. It took longer, but I got to do some of that too. I also have the chance every once in awhile to do some lecturing (in addition to pulpit supply).

Of course, I had always expected to be a solo/senior pastor and preach every Sunday. I did that for awhile but economically, it didn’t work out (as I find it is not working out for some of my pastoring friends). But right now, even though I am bi-vocational, I get to teach a Bible study. More recently a group in my church began a book study (yes, one by N. T. Wright). So, with pulpit supply and other church work, I have plenty of ways to serve in the teaching and preaching ministry. And I get all of this in addition to a Church I am glad to be in and to have my children in. That is something many pastors don’t get.

And while I never thought about wanting to start a new business in my thirty-ninth year, I’ve gotten past the panic stage and am actually enjoying the adventure.  I need to make a lot more progress, but the fact is that I had no idea how on earth I would make a living only a year ago.  Everything fell into place, except the place kept (and keeps) morphing to something better.

And now I realize I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1 thought on “One of the things that catches me surprise at the edge of forty

  1. Jim

    I know what you mean. I hear about surveys that report men are unhappiest in their forties. I can’t imagine being a lot happier than I am now. (And I mean that in the good sense — that there’s not much room left above me on the happiness scale — and not in the sense that I expect things to remain as miserable as they are now for the rest of my life.)


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