Several events in the past week have reminded me that I am getting older. Yesterday was my birthday and I turned 65 which used to sound like an old age. My Medicare card arrived in the mail last week. And after having some minor eye surgery and asking my surgeon why my healing is slower than I expected, he said to me, "Well, men your age don't heal as quickly as younger people."
So, apparently I am officially getting older.
The hard part about that is that I don't feel older, at least not until I look into the mirror. I would say that I am not just 65, I am all of the ages I have ever been,
I am still the young boy who grew up in a home where I knew I was loved and blessed by my family. The older I get, the more I am grateful for those memories which are still alive in me.
I am still the shy junior-high kid who nearly panicked anytime I had to speak in class, especially when we were required to give speeches.
I am still the older teenager who began to feel called by God to go into ordained ministry and who was nurtured and encouraged in that journey by family, pastors and friends.
I am still the college student who met and fell in love with Marsha, and every day I am grateful for her love and support for these now 44 years of marriage.
I am still the proud young father of Laura and Steve – amazed by the process of being a part of creating life for those precious children (who are both now parents themselves).
I am still the brash young pastor who believed he could change the church and transform the world on behalf of Christ, often pushing back against the church bureaucracies of which I am now a part.
I am still the middle-aged man who began to discover his mortality, and who learned as a DS at age 40 that leading and managing the church was not as easy as I once thought.
I am still one of the youngest bishops every elected (at age 46), even though I am now in my 19th year of service as a bishop.
I am still all of the ages I have ever been, Which is why we should never look at any person who appears to be "old" and overlook the fact that they are all of the ages of their lives. It is so easy to fall into ageism and to assume someone is just old. We need to see and to appreciate all of the ages that comprise someone's life.
So, yes, I am getting older, and that's OK. I hope you are getting older, too, and I hope you are claiming all of the ages you have every been – because that is who you are.