Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The grass withers and the flowers fade


“Shout that people are like the grass.
Their beauty fades as quickly
as the flowers in a field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fade
beneath the breath of the Lord.
And so it is with people.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.”

I'm 60 years old today

Things are very similar to when I was 30.
My plans had fallen apart.
My world had fallen apart.
The career I had dedicated myself to had blown up in our faces.
Our girls were little, and we wanted Patti to be a stay at home Mom.
We were in financial uncertainty as we left what we knew and launched something new and untested.
The economy was terrible, and the new career I had chosen - real estate sales - was in severe decline.

When I was 40, I was feeling no pain.
We had just bought a huge new house, and felt like we were on top of the world.
We had just become millionaires, owning 12 houses in Seattle.
Our girls were going into high school and middle school, and we were Oh-So-Proud of them.
Patti had managed to be a stay at home Mom, and we were reaping the rewards.
I threw a party with 125 guests.
I even hired a band to celebrate the auspicious occasion.
The next day I remember thinking, “I have a thousand acquaintences, but very few close friends.”

When I was 50, I owned a prosperous business.
For months, the members of the business put together a wonderful book, with a letter or note from each person.
It was heartwarming, and I have read it over many times since.
Both of our girls had graduated from college, and had married wonderful guys.
I was a multimillionaire, with confidence and great hope.
We had sponsered a Bible Study at our house for 5 years, and those 5 couples were our best friends.

Today I am 60.
The economy is in shambles.
The great Obama recession gets worse with every new trillion of deficit spending he throws away. Its all just printed money, so who cares, right?
We were to have retired two years ago.
Instead we are broke.
And deeply in debt.
I am doing real estate again. Trying to learn how it works in the age of the internet and social media.

My wife has stuck with me.
Our kids have wonderful marriages.
We have 4 beautiful grandchildren.

Our church has had some major transitions. Every one we used to be friends with have left. The average age has dropped by 20 years, even as we have gotten older.
I think my birthday party will just be my wife and I.
And I am thinking, “I have a few dozen acquaintences, and perhaps no close friends.”

And we are trying to rebuild.

I wonder what 70 will be like?
(Do I really want to know?)

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