1970 didn’t seem like that long ago in 1990. But 41 years have passed since my mom and dad decided (against the doctor’s wishes) to have me at the age of 41 themselves. The gratitude I feel today for them now into their 80s is immense. At 41, they started a whole new life with a new son and I’m sure I didn’t make it easy on them.
A college degree, a career in radio, a second career in ministry with the Paulists along with a second degree with their help, a loving and committed wife and now a new life and ministry in Buffalo…life indeed had taken twists and turns.
From meager beginnings in Yonkers, life unfolded wonderfully. As middle age approaches I find myself trying to get in shape once again. I said to someone the other day, “I used to be an athlete.” I’m hoping to run a 5K this summer–something I did everyday in my senior year of high school. So with creeky knees and heel spurs, I’m in training once again and determined to not merely crawl across the finish line but to at least be competitive in my age group. My wife found me a softball team to play with this summer as well. So all in all, I’m hoping that I begin to feel a bit younger.
I have my students to thank for keeping me young at heart and now encouraging me to get in shape. My wife also has enabled me to feel love unconditionally and forgiveness without deserving it. She is a wonderful partner and I am a better man because of her. She even gave me that wonderful dog of ours who is clearly our best friend.
Being sick on one’s birthday makes you appreciate health that much more. And while I’ve seen healthier days, I’ve been in pretty good health for some time. Others have not been as fortunate as I. A college roommate, Dave Connors died far too young, along with 3 other classmates. Friends died in towers and planes on that day that marked all Americans, 9/11. I remember eating at Wild Blue in those towers and waiting for path trains to visit friends in New Jersey in the basement.
Birthdays are a way to not only mark another year gone by but a year of blessings. My life has been blessed by each one of you that I am proud to call friends.
But most of all, I have been blessed to simply serve God in the church and for that I continue to be grateful. I will continue to be quite happy if God gives me 41 more years of being a minister. And with God’s help, I know there is much work for me to do. I look forward to many more years of being a servant of God. Pray for my ministry and that I discover where I continue to be led as a lay minister, or possibly a deacon.
But for now, Happy Feast of Hayes. I’m off to eat some lemon filled cake.