Monday, December 6, 2010

The Big Four Oh..Ouch!

Have you seen the Red Robin menu lately? I was taken there today for the b-day lunch of all b-day lunches: a Banzai Burger, bottomless fries, and a diet coke (plus a song from the wait staff thanks to Brenden). I couldn’t help but notice the number “39” at the bottom of the menu. With a closer look it said, “We I.D. under 39 ½.” Wow – I guess I am old now. If I had ordered something other than a Diet Coke I suppose they couldn’t have asked for my ID? All I would have to say was, “I’m 40, therefore you can’t even ASK for my I.D.”

Okay, my brain is hurting thinking about this chicken & egg argument. The point is, I just reached the big 4-0. Ouch! And as we all say, “Life just goes by so fast.” It seems like yesterday I watched my daughters being born, got married, went to college, yada, yada, yada. I don’t feel 40. I don’t think I look 40 – especially with lots of moisturizer and that new Superman t-shirt (thanks, kids). Those of you moaning about gray hair and wrinkles, remember I was the kid you teased in high school for looking like a tall 5th grader.

So we celebrated with an overnight in Portland. Stayed at a nice hotel that had room service. Went for a walk through downtown. Very romantic…except all five of us went. And we didn’t actually order room service. And there was a lot of screaming and crying on the walk by the river. And we were all snoring by 10pm.

But it was very cool anyway. The five of us played, swam, ate, and laughed all weekend. I got lots of good hugs and birthday songs from the kids. I got a few of those, “You’re so special” looks from my wife while wrestling with the children. The middle of the night brought a flood of memories, shoulda-coulda-wouldas, and dreams for the future. I pondered that which I’ve wasted and that which I’ve done well. I prayed for the future and thanked God for the present.

In the sixth book of the Old Testament, Joshua builds a memorial in thanks to God’s work in the lives of Israel. Having just crossed the Jordan River, twelve stones were set down to proclaim that God was and is faithful. This weekend was in some way a monument to God’s work in our life. (And I turned forty, a number that is oft-used in Scripture – okay maybe I’m reaching a bit.) Portland is where I met God in Seminary – a very different God than I had known before. I suppose I should say I learned of a God much more profound than I knew before. For two long years I drank deeply from the well at George Fox. It was special to return on a significant date and reflect on how good God has been to us even in the four years we’ve been gone.

Thank you, God, for 40. Where are your memorials, your altars, your monuments to God’s work in your life?


Diana said...

First - 40? Child... *G*
It took me longer, though I was under the impression that I had my act together with the Lord. Twas Dec 2008 when He told my girl friend to tell me I needed to get grounded and for once, I paid attention and got grounded. The next 3 months would be the toughest of my life, followed several months later with another challenge I wasn't expecting. Life is full of challenges, tis so much better to go through those challenges firmly entrenched with the Lord at my side.
Diana... one of your 2nd cousins... once removed? or 1st cousin once removed?

Padilla Fam said...

Rob, you'll ALWAYS have me laughing and smiling as you use your incredible gifts of writing, and humorously of course, to entertain and enlighten us all! I can't imagine we're all 40, maybe on paper but not is spirit, eh. But Happy Birthday anyway, and I'm so glad it was a great one for you. And keep on writing b/c you are undoubtedly giving people more years of life since afterall 'laughter IS the best medicine'. Love u all!!

Rob Fraser said...

Diana - I've never understood the removed label either - didn't take that class in college. :)

Thanks for your encouragement, Rebekah! Youre Christmas card was great!