This last Sunday I turned 40 years old. To celebrate this weekend I chose a weekend get away at the beach here in Oregon. I invited 17 guys, 11 were able to come and join the party. I selected men who have played an important role in my life for the last 20 years. These are men who have been allowed to speak into my life, shaping and impacting the man I am today.
Over the weekend I got to relive old memories, share a ton of laughs and just enjoy being around this group of great men. Most of these men had never met each other before. This was the first time they all were in one place together. What amazed me the most was how well they got along with each other, from the beginning of the weekend everyone who was there acted as if they had all been a part of each other’s lives for a long time. Over and over throughout the weekend, I got continual compliments on how I had chosen amazing friends.
The weekend didn’t start out well. Due to the horrific Tsunami happening in Japan, the news Friday morning said they were expecting it to reach the Oregon coast. Evacuations were taking place and we were unsure if we would be able to make it. Later in the day we were able to head for the beach as the Tsunami warnings were removed. 4 of us arrived first, after getting settled decided to go for a walk. As we made our way down to the beach we could see the tide was in, but heading out. After walking about ½ mile we chose to head back. As we made our way back we the tide had gone out and the rocks and tidal pools were exposed and we headed over to check them out 5 minutes into looking around the tide began quickly moving in and we were surrounded by water. We mad our way towards the shore, standing on the last rock available and thinking the tide would go back out waited for a bit. The tide wend down a little but only returned with a stronger force and the water was climbing. One of my friends jumped and went under, we watched as he disappeared under the water, unsure what to do, quickly he came to the surface and made his way up the beach. The water went out a small amount and my other two friends jumped for it and headed up the beach. I stood there on the rocks waiting for the water to go down but it wasn’t. I grabbed my digital camera in my right hand and held it above my head and placed my cell phone in my coat pocket and held it with my left hand and jumped. I ended up falling into the water up to my neck, soaking my phone and camera both. I quickly stood up and made my way to the beach. We all stood there staring at each other, shaking our heads in disbelief. Thankfully we were all safe. The ocean had destroyed 2 cell phones and a digital camera but no lives were lost and we were incredibly thankful.
The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out, eating delicious meals, a ton of laughs and an EWOK cake. Many games of Settlers of Catan and enjoying being around great friends. Usually for me it’s incredibly difficult to watch weekends like this come to an end. I was sad to see it end, I wished it could have lasted for a week. I am so thankful for all the men who were able to come and join me. As I think back over the last 20 years I am amazed at the men God has put into my life. As men have come and gone in my life, other men have come in and filled that gap. For that I am incredibly thankful.
Oh yeah, how does the beard play into all this? In September 2010 I contemplated growing a beard. Never before in my life had I grown one. I have attempted a couple of times, but after a week or so, I couldn’t stand the itchiness of it and gave up. Since my son was born I have always had a go-tee and since the early 90’s I have kept my hair very short. A friend of mine was getting married in October and asked me to be in his wedding. Finding out I was going to be in a wedding I decided to hold off until after the wedding. The wedding took place and that was the last day I shaved or cut my hair. I made the choice to wait until my 40th birthday to shave it all off. Despite numerous comments through the months about me looking like Moses or Grizzly Adams, I held true to my word and didn’t cut any of it. Finally this weekend came and I was more than ready to return to my original face. I have no intentions of ever-growing long hair or a beard again.
I was thinking of adding 40 things I learned over the years, but I shall forego that. What I will add is a few things I have learned in my 40 years.
My relationship with Jesus is the most valuable relationship I have. When everyone else has failed me he has always been with me. The model by which he lived his life, investing in 12 other men for 3 years, serving others and living his life for his Father’s purpose is something I will spend the rest of my life trying to emulate.
My wife is one of the greatest blessings I have. I am by no means worthy of her. She is truly a gifted and amazing woman. I fell in love with her heart from the beginning and it’s still the one thing that draws me back to her daily. After spending countless years praying for a wife, God has blessed me with the right woman for my life.
My 6 kids continue to amaze me daily. I never thought I could love someone the way I love them. God has perfectly designed my family and each child he has allowed me to be a Papa to is a dream come true. My greatest desire was to be a Dad someday and it is so much more than I ever dreamed of.
Most of my 20’s and 30’s were an exercise in being unwise and selfish. I have more regrets than I can count and that is no way to live your life. Living a wise life, no regrets and considering others as more important is the way to go.
There are so many other valuable lessons I have learned, to many to list out here. Most importantly live life as though it’s your last day on earth, for one day it will be.
Got any advice for me as I move into my 40’s?