Happy Birthday to Me!

Grace and me with my birthday cheesecake!

Yesterday was a snow day, and a couple of the church kids came over to play. During a conversation with the six-year-old, he told me about one of his parents’ friends who was “really old–probably fifty.”

So I said, “My birthday is tomorrow. How old do you think I will be?”

He tilted his head in a thoughtful manner, looked me up and down, and said, “Seventy-two?”

Well, I’m not seventy-two, I’m thirty-six. And I think that is the perfect age for me to be.

I am old enough to be considered a real grown up by pretty much everyone. But I’m still considered one of the young’uns in many circles.

I’m young enough to have good energy, and old enough to have a pretty good idea how to use it.

I’m young enough to have adventures to look forward to, and old enough to have adventures to look back on.

Thirty-six is definitely a good age. And in this culture where we–especially women–are supposed to do everything in our power to seem younger than we are, I am grateful to be in a profession that values age. If I were a model or a professional athlete (neither of which were ever particularly viable options), my career would basically be over by now. But as a pastor, I’m just getting started. Every year brings more of the wisdom, more of the maturity, more of the insight necessary to pastor well.

In an interview on Fresh Air this afternoon, the Coen brothers said that when their mom died, the synagogue sent a rabbi to the house who “looked about twelve.” Well, I’ve looked about twelve since I was sixteen. Honestly, I get kind of excited when I see a new gray hair or notice the laugh lines around my eyes.  When I show up in the wake of a tragedy, I want people to sense God’s loving presence with them–not feel compelled to serve me cookies and milk.  (Though I do like cookies.)

So happy birthday to me! I thank God for the years I have lived, and I pray that I can live this coming year in faithfulness, with joy.

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9 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me!

  1. You don’t look that much different than you did when I first met you 15 years ago! But the husband and three kids, and life experiences mean that you definitely can’t be twelve. Or sixteen. Or even twenty. (:

    • Thanks Patti. I bet you’ve had similar issues as a youthful pastor. And yes, once my teenager calls me “mom,” people get clued in.

  2. Happy Birthday Joanna! You have an awesomeness that is so enjoyable. I hope you enjoy celebrating what is, what’s been and what’s gonna be. Many Blessings are Wished Upon You, Joni

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