20,805 mornings later I am still restless


Today is my 57th birthday.

I woke up at 3:48 a.m. and have been staring at a wall since then wondering what to say to mark this personally historic day in my life.

It’s not that I don’t have a great deal to be thankful in my life.

I am alive.

I woke up, after all.  That’s a remarkable feat and one for roughly 20,805 mornings I have been fortunate to be able to do.

I have a roof over my head.  Food in the pantry.  Surrounded by people I love and ones who tolerate me.

A snoring dog has her butt up against me as I write this, the sound of the rocket propelled air conditioning unit in our townhome has kicked in and I can hear the sounds of my fingers against the keyboard of my computer.

I have a job and work to do.  My colleagues are genuinely good people who I miss working with in person and a meeting yesterday with genuinely good people at LendSmart mortgage to plan a fundraising event for Spare Key filled with genuinely good people reminded me of all the genuinely good people in my life.

Roughly three months of quarantine have thickened my belly and I know I need to do something about that.  The number of miles I have run since quarantine is stuck at 107 miles and I know I need to do something about that.

Still, I am restless.

And, I know I need to do something about that.

Contentedness is something I crave and fear at the same time.

Stability is an important word in my life.

I grew up in a household in which stability was erratic, uneven, elusive, and never taken for granted.

I’ve tried hard as a parent to give to my kids that which was fleeting in my childhood.

It’s no secret to anybody who pays attention that I spoil my kids.  I always have.  I have no regrets.

Despite their father’s adoration they have both grown into kind, generous, humble, giving adults who have never taken anything good in their life for granted.

They root for the underdog.  They reach out to the broken.  They stand up for the beaten down.

No greater epitaph to my life will ever be written than “He so loved his children that he gave them anything they wanted, and they helped everyone they could.”

If I could add after the word “wanted” the words “…and didn’t know they wanted…” without running off the side of the headstone I would.

So, I am content with my life.

The complaints I have are of my own making, and any of them are the kind of problems that billions of my fellow human beings on the planet would shame me for even bringing up in conversation.

Still, I am restless.

I can feel a stirring, though, an emerging pattern of taking that restlessness and lining up the parts that bring me to a place where I feel like I am doing something about it.

It’s the ordering of things that so often marks when I go to get things done.

It is the only routine I have ever had in my life.

It’s a mental checklist of what has to be done, how it has to be done, when it has to be done.

It’s taken me until the middle ages of my life to know that it is who and how I am.

There’s the compartmentalizing inside my head where I store things until I know where to put them and I’ve seemingly stored some things in there that have been dormant for far too long.

It is as though inside my is the kind of creaking sound of old machinery being brought back to life with the yawning stretch of morning to prove to me that I’m ready to begin again.

I am grateful that at 57 I haven’t forgotten how to do the things I knew so well how to do at 27, 37 and 47.

That despite how I went about doing those things at 27, 37 and 47 there are still friends, colleagues and peers who honor me with their willingness to work with me at 57 to get new things done.

The checklist that is my life is not yet done.

In the next 43 years that I am confident God has allotted to me, there will be more tasks to check-off on that list.

More problems to solve.  More opportunities to grasp.  More promises to make.  More promises to keep.

Today is my 57th birthday.

Still, I am restless.

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