Monday, May 5, 2014

About birthdays and fear

I turn 32 today.


I'll be honest and tell you, I was really anxious about 32.  Birthdays are weird like that, in that they affect each of us differently. 30 was not a big deal to me; I welcomed 30.  But I remember 24 being hard, and 26 being absolutely horrible. I have friends who had a hard time with 29; another who had a hard time with 35.

I was thinking about birthdays and how they're hard sometimes. I don't think it's necessarily getting older in and of itself that bothers us on those hard milestones. I think it's the age and the lack of what we thought we would have at that point or where we thought we would be that's so hard to deal with.

I'm 26 and single. Will I find someone?
I'm 35 and don't have children. Will I ever?
I'm 42 and divorced. Can I find love again?
I'm 24 and am still working two part time jobs. When will my career start?
I'm 51 and widowed. What now?
I'm 27 and never been kissed.
I'm 19 and don't know what I want to do with my life.
I'm 43 and am unsure of my purpose in life.

That's what makes birthdays hard; not the age but the absence of whatever it was we wanted, and the fear that it's slipping farther and farther away from being possible.

I was talking to a friend about this the other day; she knew I had been anxious about 32 and I told her that surprisingly, it wasn't as scary looking the closer I got to it. That my old thoughts of "I'm 32 but don't have xyz" had turned into "I'm 32, and don't have xyz, but God..."

And it floored me as I said it.

But God.

Two powerful words when put together.

I'm 26 and single. But God...
I'm 35 and don't have children. But God...
I'm 42 and divorced, but God...
I'm 34 and my marriage is over, but God...
I'm...But God.
But. God.

Do you see the power in that?  Any situation dwindles in the face of that truth. Any birthday fear evaporates when held up against that truth.

Abraham was infertile, but God.
Joseph was sold into slavery, but God.
Mary was a small unknown girl, but God.
The earth flooded under Noah's feet, but God.

I didn't get that job, but God.
I failed that test, but God.
We broke up, but God.
I am addicted to x, but God.
I have cancer, but God.

But God.

Two little words. One big God. One very powerful phrase. So take your sentences this week--your fears, your current age, your status, your reality, and add this to the end of is.  Because whatever happens in life, "but God" can change it all.

And that's worth celebrating.  So today I'll eat cake and celebrate God's but ;)

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