It is the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything according to Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
It's also my age.
As of yesterday.
My wife asked me if I felt "old". I said no. (She's asked me that every year since I was about 35.) I don't feel old but I'm not as young as I used to be. In the morning I do feel old but that's just years of abuse to my body.
(NOTE TO SON: Abuse it while you're young and you'll pay for it when you're older!)
I did eat okra yesterday. It was in my chicken gumbo. That's a milestone. I hated okra as a kid because my Grandmother Lancaster used to fry it within an inch of its life or boil it until it oozed out on to the plate in a gelatinous mass. This okra wasn't bad but don't let my Mother hear me say that.
I also eat tomatoes. Not plain but I don't pick them out of my food anymore. I just eat them. It's not that I like them all of a sudden it's just around age 30 I got tired of picking them out of my food. More like being lazy than acquiring a taste.
My hair is thinning. I'll finally admit it. My Mom would tease me about my thinning hair as far back as age 30. Admittedly she would make the comment while looking at my newly shorn head (I wear a flat-top on occasion and the barber gets it down to less than a 1/4 of an inch!) But recently I've noticed it's thinning on top and up front. Sides and back are still good. Maybe I'll look like Patrick Stewart of ST:TNG fame in a few years! For now, I keep it cut pretty short.
The boy got me this card for my birthday.
OUTSIDE: So anyway, I'm standing in line to buy you a freakin' birthday card, and the line is like seventeen billion people long 'cause the only thing the dumb teenage boy at the register is thinking about is the dumb teenage girl at the other register, and some lady is turning her purse inside out to come up with "exact change", like she's gonna win some kind of "exact change trophy" or something, and some idiot starts up with his "This item was marked with the sale price" crap, and I just really hope you like this card...
'cause I stole it.
Yes...he's 14 and he is his father's son. He was so proud to have found that card. He's at camp this week. Local bible camp up in the foothills of Mt. Lassen. I'm hoping he'll find other kids that will be a better influence on him than the ones he's picked over the last couple of years. It's not that they are bad kids it's just their values are different than ours. I really don't want to be the lecturing kind of Dad but I did ream him a new one last week. Just finally pissed me off and I gave him the what-for. He had it coming. He'll learn. Hopefully sooner than I did. He's a good kid. Good heart. Smart. I just want him to be a little more innocent a little longer.
I had some other great epiphanies on being 42 and half way through life but I seemed to have forgotten them. I have great thoughts as I'm trying to fall asleep but come morning I can't remember most of them. I guess I should just get up and write when the thoughts are pouring out of my head instead of waiting until later.
I am reading "The Autobiography of Henry VIII" by Margaret George. Fascinating book. (If my research is somewhat correct, I am a great distant relative of Henry's. But then again, English lineage is somewhat difficult to follow.) Henry, in his later life, after he split with Rome, found himself in a bit of a conundrum. He knew the Pope's were just men and that Luther was partially correct but he couldn't bring himself to abandon the religion he'd grown up with. Being the 2nd son of a King he was destined never to rule so he was trained as a priest. His brother died so he got the job as King when his father passed away. He felt his marriage to Katherine of Aragon wasn't legal in the Lord's eyes and the Pope, politically influenced, saw otherwise. Henry's man Wolsey helped Henry split and the Church of England was born. Catholic light some call it as instead of a Pope, the ruling Monarch is the head of the Church. Not the spiritual head though.
So Henry is getting old and fat and sees this new generation coming up which he doesn't understand. They are mixing Lutheranism with is beloved English Catholicism and it's making him nervous. He misses the old structure.
I understand how he felt.
There are days I miss the assurance of my Baptist upbringing but know that the legalistic manner in which I was raised wasn't correct. They understood freedom in Christ but knew man's sin nature would take a mile if given an inch so life was regulated. The problem was, they didn't teach us how to deal with our freedom only how to regiment it. We weren't given the tools to live. We were given a rule book to abide by. And deviation from the rule book lead to disasters of biblical proportions...God would punish us with nasty consequences, striking us down in our prime. We always had a God of wrath and rarely a God of love. (Those who thought God was Love all the time were those long-hairs that hung out at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and played Jesus Rock...I go to a CC church now and listen to more than just Jesus rock. I'm a baaaddd boooyy!)
So seeing the freedom I have to worship God one on one instead of in the temple or in the hills I cringe at some of the lengths people go to in doing it. I think we aren't remembering our history well enough and are seeing old things new again. Contemplative prayer, incense, labyrinths, alternate worship services. Those things give me pause. I have to discern whether it's a knee-jerk reaction from my Baptist roots or if it's the Spirit poking me with the caution stick. Some days...it's hard to know which is which.
Besides...incense makes my nose run...