Ode to FIfty

 

First birth happened in Alabama, 1947...a loaf of bread cost 13 cents & gas was 15 cents per gallon! Found out much later that made me a Baby Boomer. Both parents came through the Great Depression and WWII with a simple goal: determined that I and my older sister would not have to endure the same hardships they experienced. Goal accomplished...we had a good life. Dad drove trains for a living...mom mostly stayed home...good childhood memories, no complaints, no horror stories. Born the second time in the 50’s, an experience that allowed me to discover my destiny. Remember where I was when JFK was shot...watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan (still listen to oldies from that era). Graduated from high school...Vietnam was calling, it was the 60’s...went to Montgomery...flunked my draft physical (migraine headaches...a family thing). Grew up in a decade known as a time of rebellion on the college campus, dope, and easy sex, as David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young said, “Anybody who says he clearly remembers the 60’s obviously wasn’t there.” I disagree. I remember the 60’s and they were some of the best times of my life. Attended a private college...didn’t go to Woodstock; married the perfect person for me in the 70’s, moved to Texas for graduate school, got my Master’s; returned to Alabama, became a pastor; started having kids...#1, #2, #3...all girls; trained my first Lab; started running...lost weight; started playing golf. Two awesome experiences helped mold me: Dothan...I Have Been In His Presence-He Is Lord and Suzy... “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain..” Had my first article published in Home Life Magazine. Four decades have passed...my how time flies!
 
Mom died. Moved to my second church; bought my first house; stopped running, played golf...gained weight; became an adjunct professor at a local college; bought my first computer...learned to surf the World Wide Web. Dad died. Celebrated 25 years of a very good marriage; daughter #1 graduated from college, #2 graduated from high school; several more articles published.
 
Woke up one morning in 1997 and I was 50! Preached 32 years, pastored 23...3,450 sermons in two churches...1,500 sermons in 300 revivals over 25 states; 163 funerals...138 weddings. Written over 500,000 words under deadline.
 
50! So what is the big deal? Like Gus (Augustus McCrae in Lonesome Dove) was fond of saying, “The older the violin, the sweeter the music”. The only score that matters is the one at the end of the last half.  God’s Word to me: “My son, I am your Lord...hear this: Your greatest accomplishment is yet to be”.  I am excited!