“Please tell me you get it figured out.”
That’s what one of my younger friends said to me one day. That, or something close to that. He’s dad to a couple kids, thinks a lot, tries to understand transitions.
“You don’t,” I said. “You are always wondering, always realizing that there is something new that you aren’t going to understand or solve or be able to do.”
“You know what older people need to do,” he said, referring to older people like me. “You need to tell us that we’re not going to suddenly arrive and then be able to coast.”
So this is his fault.
I remember when I turned forty. A boss planned a party at work, invited Nancy and the kids. That’s how I remember the year.
I was happy in higher education, enjoying my administrative work. I worried about getting it right, about making sure people were happy. We were part of a church, and I was teaching and preaching occasionally. I worried about getting it right, and we worried about fitting in. So did our kids.
What I didn’t know is that I was less than three years from leaving higher education forever, or so I thought. I was a decade from joining twitter. I still made things from wood. I had tried running, briefly, and gave it up. I didn’t know most of you.
In the last two decades, I left higher ed, spent nearly 16 years in pastoral ministry, and have moved into a new remarkable cluster of ways to serve. I gave up wood, but now make things out of words. Our kids are grown and married and good to be with. I still worry about getting it right.
So Matt, at least some of us don’t arrive. We still wonder. But we’re [usually] okay with the mystery.