I'm sure I'm not the only person that does this, but every year around my birthday I like to reflect back on my life. You know, the typical where have I been, what have I done to make a difference in this world, where am I headed type stuff. This year has been no different. I turned 37 last Friday and just really can't believe that I'm actually 37. I truly don't know where the last 20 years have gone? I can't believe I've been married for 15 years to the most wonderful woman in the world, who truly is my best friend and soulmate. Still not sure what I did to deserve her. I'm also amazed that I have 3 absolutely wonderful children, the oldest of which will be 13 in January. Thirteen? Are you kidding me? There is no way that I feel old enough to have a teenager. It feels like just yesterday that I was in college trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and now I have responsibility for 3 children, a mortgage, car payments, and a job where people actually come to me for my advice on business issues. Sometimes it all just feels like a dream and I'm going to wake up and be back in high school again.
Time really does fly by the older you get. In the last several months, however, I've really been trying to focus on enjoying every moment, especially with my wife and kids. This is something I have always struggled with in the past, always worrying about what's next on the agenda. I'm now realizing that before I know it my kids will be off to college and starting their own life and I don't want to regret how I spent my time as they were growing up. I was really struck this summer with how much they have already grown up. In July, I took my oldest 2 kids to Cornerstone Music Festival in Illinois. Cornerstone is a big 4-day Christian music and arts festival held every year in the middle of Illinois farmland. It's an amazing event that I've been going to since I was in college, but this is the first time I have taken the kids. Besides all the incredible music, it was amazing to have 4 full days of uniteruppted time with my kids. There were no schedules, no stress, just time to talk about what's going on in their lives. We had some wonderfully deep conversations about big issues and also plenty of just plain silliness and laughing with one another. I got to pray with my oldest daugher (9) as she took her first communion and was really moved by her compasison for those around the world who are suffering in poverty. And I got to watch my son (12) really begin to mature in his relationship with God. It was wonderful to truly delight in my children. I only wished that my wife and youngest daughter could have been there with us. That would have made it perfect.
I've been reminded again and again since then of what a wonderful glimpse of heaven that time was. I believe this is how God intended for us to live, in communion with Him and with one another. Enjoying each and every moment God has given us in this life and not worrying about what may happen tomorrow. Because whatever happens, God will provide. It's also made me really appreciate my children for who God created them to be as individuals created in His image with their own ideas, passions, and talents. They are no longer the little babies I once rocked to sleep at night. They are growing into young men and women. (Perhaps a little faster than I'd like) I am immensly proud of each of them and look forward to watching them continue to grow and mature.
So as I look back over the first 37 years of this journey, I realize that I have been extremely fortunate. I've been able to do and pursue many of the things I love. But as I get older the things I cherish most are my relationship with God and my family. Though the jouney has not always been easy, in fact, sometimes it has been quite difficult, He has truly blessed me. I am looking forward to the next 37 years (or more, hopefully) to see where God will take me. If the first 37 are any indication, the next should be pretty interesting.