40 found me today. I guess my dad was right. He told me a long time ago that the older you get, the faster the days fly by. He’s 71 now, but I’ll bet he remembers turning 40 like it was yesterday. I still remember the first time I really started to grasp how quickly time passes, and how helpless we are to stop it. It was my 10th birthday. Thirty years ago today. I can still hear, word for word, someone (I can’t remember who) saying, “Just think, Marcus – No more single digits!” It was a simple, well-intended comment, but it saddened me for a few minutes – to the point of tears. My childhood was slipping away… and then there was cake and gifts and the rest is a blissful blur.
I remember 11 and 12. Junior High. I met my best friend for years to come, Dave Miller. Dave introduced me to
U2 (we’re talking The Unforgettable Fire) and we eventually lived out high school around an eclectic mix of that great band and others like UB40 (an ironic name considering this post), The Style Council, Sinead O’Connor, Erasure, Yaz, Bob Marley, and Icicle Works. We also learned a lot about life from that great philosopher, John Cusack. The Sure Thing and Say Anything can be quoted from start to finish.
I remember 13-17 like it was yesterday. High School. Good, good times. Here is where I literally found my voice, thriving in the musical and dramatic arts and evolving into the singer/songwriter I thought the world would know and love. I found my first love and spent more than two years in the relationship that I thought would last a lifetime, but it was my own naiveté that broke her heart (and eventually mine). At 13 to 17 years
old, you think you’re immortal. You believe that any decision you make can simply be corrected if wrong, and that consequences are irrelevant. For the most part, these beliefs held true until after High School.
18 to 21 was tricky. College out-of-state, 600 miles from home. Free to make my own decisions, for better or worse. It was during this time that I learned the hard way that some decisions can’t be reversed and will affect the rest of your life. You can only hurt some people so many times before they decide not to take you back. “Elective surgery” will come back to haunt you. It destroyed my singing voice and whatever shot I had at becoming a recording artist (a real one according to my vocal coach). Consequences became not only
relevant, but very real and lasting. This is a conversation I will be having early and often with my kids.
My twenties are a little fuzzy. The aforementioned consequences and circumstances shattered my self-confidence and brought about depression. I got married partly because I had convinced myself in the Summer of 1994 that I was ready to get married – even though I wasn’t dating anyone at the time. The next person through the doors eventually became my wife. We did ok for several years, but in my heart I knew that something was amiss.
And then there were my thirties. It would become a decade of tumultuous and lasting change. My amazing Sam and Sophia were born the year I turned 30. My divorce was final before they were 4, the same year I would later meet my partner and soul mate for life, Missi, and my equally amazing step-daughter, Liv. It was Missi’s uncanny ability to make anyone feel as if they have been friends their whole lives that drew me in. Her drama-free prospective on life and grace drew me and my battered self-esteem out into the light, and I literally felt like an adult for the first time in my life. At 36, Missi and I were married beneath a Willow tree beside a peaceful pond. At 38, I dove head-first into self employment with my company, Nectar Media. Yes, these have been huge tectonic shifts in the landscape of my life – all for the better.
And so, even if the good Lord blesses me with a long life of 80 years or more, I am half way there. None of us knows the date and time, of course. For all I know, I could die tonight and this post would become a posthumous summary of my years on Earth. So, I stand here and gaze out upon the unexplored, undeveloped “back 40” acres of my life with great anticipation and curiosity. It will not be without its challenges and heartache. Of that I have no doubt. The Lord has so richly blessed me – so much more than I deserve. It is my sincerest hope and prayer that my life, in return, will be a lasting blessing to others. “For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.” — Luke 12:48. I hope and pray that I am becoming a better role model for all three of my kids, and that over this next decade – including all of their teenage years – my relationship with each of them individually will establish deep roots for life. I can’t wait to spend whatever amount of time we have left with my beautiful wife. I’m not sure she understands that this is the real reason I want her to quit her job. I want to be with her as much as possible. I want to be a generous and cheerful giver, even when it’s hard to let go of what God has given us. I want to honor my mother and father as they require more and more care themselves. I want to chill the heck out and try not to get so worked up over things that are beyond my control. I want to try to be a problem solver instead of a complainer. And when it is my time to go, I want to leave my kids just a little gift of money (as opposed to a ticket to easy street) and a wealth of memories, wisdom, and love.
Thank you, precious Lord and Savior, for forty years of living and loving and learning. All because of You, I am.