April 27, 1956, Santa Ana, California.
Today’s my birthday. I’m fifty-two years old. I once thought such an age was just short of decrepit, but it doesn’t seem as old now as it did then.
Still, it is a bit of time. More than a half century. I’ve ridden this green and blue ball of dirt around and around the sun, and that fiery hearth for earthly life has swum over 410 billion kilometers around the galaxy, a distance of approx. 0.04 light years, in that time.
When 52 seemed to be ancient I was young enough to be fairly certain I knew the truth about life. Now that I’ve spent a little time skating along this entropy-driven line through the fourth dimension (time), I feel I really don’t know much about anything.
I like playing with big ideas, trying to fit a crude lay knowledge of science with a crude lay knowledge of theology to the experiences filtered by five senses. It’s much like a dog chewing on the edge of a book. I like the way it feels in my teeth, but I really don’t have any idea what I’ve got ahold of.
I often sit at this glowing screen, tapping at the little squares of plastic that make up the symbols of written language, and expound on things I know nothing about.
My current appreciation of how right I am, about how smart or wise I am, hasn’t really improved too much from that 18 year old who started growing that thin beard.
I too often think I have a clue when I haven’t even begun to understand the question.
People keep mistaking me for someone who has a hint about what is going on. They too frequently make the mistake of thinking that because I read stuff like Scientific American and books by Stephen Hawkings (the lay stuff off course), and relate it to passages from the Bible or books exploring theology, that I might have some indication of what I’m talking about.
Of course it isn’t my fault people are foolish enough to take me seriously.
A good example about how clueless I am is the Sargasso Sea of confusion my ship of life is currently plying. I have the rudder of my faith to keep it steady, but I haven’t any charts or course set that I am aware of.
I just keep doing what seems to be the right thing each time a demand for a decision presents itself.
My wedding ring comes off, my wedding ring goes on. I brace myself for a divorce, I welcome my wife back home. I even offer my facial hair up for my students to reshape, and settle in on the look they give me. I facilitate a class at church to examine the theology of a novel, and I wing it each time I do so.
Fifty-two years old, and as confused as the day I was first thrust into the light of this world and didn’t even realize that the horrid sound I was hearing was my own birth wail.
I’ve received a number of birthday greetings from family and friends, folks from the blogosphere and acquaintances in town. It is nice to have their love and friendship.
I just wish I was a little more grownup than I am, that I understood what I am, what I am doing, where I am going, and what I should do next.
...for an eternal being...
I’m still pretty young.