Don't cry for me. I'm 30 years old today. In 1979 I was born six weeks early, spending my early weeks in hospital. I've just taken some time to read my Mum's diary of those first weeks which she lent to me when our son was born. I can't help but be thankful for the life I've been given. I have parents and a sister. I've always had a roof over my head, been well fed and given a good education. I've travelled around many European countries and to the USA. Blessings have been poured on me, all of them undeserved gifts.
I've spent the best part of my 20s employed to bring the gospel to University students in the South of England, plus seven Relay and six Staff, which has been an immense priviledge and joy though rarely free from frustrations. Reflecting on the last decade I'm elated to be sat here with my wife of almost seven years and our nine week old son who is gurgling and smiling.
Solomon considered 'having it all' (which I don't, but relatively speaking I do...) and said that it's meaningless, vapour, lost-hope, vanity. The stuff doesn't satisfy and isn't meant to. My 18 year old self (not a Christian) would probably be happy with the wife, son, job, house side of things and I hope would see a life that adorns the gospel but I suppose he'd be a bit bewildered. My 21 year old self would hopefully be glad I'm still a Christian, would be mad at me, though not surprised, at the time wasted in sin, surprised at the lessons I've learned and the ways I'd disagree with him. Both would query my lack of fitness but probably be glad that I'm on a curve towards being fitter rather than still going away from it as they both were... A mix of surprise, joy and disappointment no doubt.
It was perfect timing to have had my Relay worker Matt preach Ecclesiastes 2 last week at the Exeter ECU (I stole out of the sabbatical confines of my study to go and hear him). All the stuff is not god it is a gift. A gift from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who have given me themselves to know in this frustrated life. I'm happy with my lot, repenting of sin and thankful for the ocean of grace in which even my best efforts drown.
I suppose forty is the next milestone, if God permits. In May 2019 I'd love to find myself sat playing chess on the set my wife gave me for my thirtieth birthday, with ten year old Zach. And then to sit around as a family thumbing through the pages of the ten year old ESV Study Bible that was his gift that day... treasuring Christ together, reflecting on the good and difficult times He would doubtless have sent our way to make us more like Jesus over the previous decade...