I turned 44 today. Not that I think it merits too much attention. I feel more personal pride on Father's day than I do on my birthday in that I really had to do something to merit celebration, whereas for a birthday all I had to do was survive. Anyway, at 44, I am (Lord willing) about half way through my life - so the glass is either half full (Great 44 and 44 more to come) or half empty (only 44 more years to undo what I did in the 1st 44). Birthdays are a lot better when you have kids - my 6-year old daughter wished me a happy "day before your birthday," and they are happy with the cake and going out to eat as well.
I also reflect on days like this as to what it means to be the person I am. What is the significance of being the one in 6 Billion who fills my shoes? I think that the fact that I feel compelled to find that purpose or significance betrays something inherent in the human heart. The song lyrics that come to mind are:
Smiles mixed with cursesWhen it is said "we are made in the image of God," I think this is what is meant. We are unique individuals, not part of an impersonal organism. We are beings of significance, not "just a bubble in a boiling pot," as Jack Johnson puts it. If not, then why do we scream for justice? Why do we long for love? Why do we yearn for significance and purpose? I think these are all "rumors of glory." My birthday hits home on this because it is "my day." I want it to be more than just a dot on a timeline, I want it to be more than just a nod to my survival. If I don't make it to my next birthday, I want to be more than a fading memory.
The crowd disperses
About whom no details are known
Each one alone, yet not alone
Behind the pain/fear
Etched on the faces
Something is shining like gold, but better
Rumors of Glory...
Rumors of Glory
(Bruce Cockburn, from "Humans")
I doubt there are many who would disagree.