“In his heart, a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” –-King Solomon
If forty is over the hill, then today marks the metaphorical summit of my life. I find that thought both comforting and terrifying. How happy I am to have awakened this beautiful morning to sunshine and calm breezes over blue water, to pelicans diving for fish right outside my bedroom window, to a sweet little girl who came blanky-in-hand to snuggle, to children who were sweeping the main cabin clean as a special surprise for me, and to a husband who makes a great cup of coffee (to make up for the pelicans and toddler waking me way too early). Some good friends made dinner and a birthday treat for me last night, and I struggled to think of a wish as I blew out my candles. Sure, there are things on my “bucket list,” goals I have not yet accomplished, places I still want to go, but, on the whole, I have everything I have ever wanted and I am so thankful for each of my thirty nine years.
At the same time, there is no guarantee that I will get to slide down the other side of the hill—and what a slide it will be, especially if the illusion of time passing faster and faster proves true (where
did all those years go?) The terrifying part of staring down at the slope ahead is that have no idea what the terrain looks like. I had the sense of making a controlled ascent, though I now see very clearly that much of the good in my life is serendipity and not according to my plan. In fact, the older I get, the more I realize that I have no idea what is good for me, that even my desires change, and that trying to control things is what limits joy and contentment. I can honestly say that if today were the last day of my life, I would look back without regret, but what I want more than anything else is to keep learning new things, to live more fearlessly, and to plumb the depths of love, so that whatever the years ahead hold I will be able to say the same thing at the bottom that I say here at the top: life is sweet and God is good.