Half Century Reflection

   Today is my 50th birthday: Five-Oh, Forty-Nine plus One, five decades, a half century. I can hardly believe it. Where did the time go? How could it have gone by so fast? It just seems like a few short years ago, my sons were born, but they are both in their 20s.

   I worked a great deal when I was a young father. It was a good decision then because I needed to provide for my family. I now wish I had spent more time playing with my boys. I am not so sure that this is a “regret” as I felt that I needed to make money to better provide for my family. Some people beat themselves up for decisions they make like this. But, I think that if the time called for such action and the intention was pure, then there is no place for regret. I know many single moms who worked ever so hard. They feel that they were weak, but I know they showed strength beyond measure. Sometimes we have to do things that must be done. Sometimes we have to react to the situation at hand. We sometimes have to make decisions based on what we know at the time. If you need to, then forgive yourself. Look away from the past and face the future with a bright and determined attitude.

   I am so very thankful that my former wife and I were able to raise two fine young men. Her love and care is enormously missed. I know that she is expending as much effort with her young son in Sweden. I wanted her to be able to stay at home, and she did, as I feel that there is no nobler profession than to be wife and mother.

   I am one of the few lucky persons who has worked in the same industry for a very long time. I have been with my current employer for more than 25 years. I often took my boys to work with me on the weekends when I wanted to catch up. I think it was time well spent. It allowed the boys and I to spend time together and taught them a strong work ethic. Their bosses and co-workers tell me how hard they work and how much they are appreciated. I am a very proud father.

   I have been a long time student of the Bible, of spirituality, and of philosophy. I enjoy learning new things and sharing that knowledge with others. In Proverbs 9:11 it says, “Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life.” (NLT) But I have learned that there is much difference between knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Just knowing something does not mean that you can apply it well. I believe knowledge is the path to wisdom along with experience and understanding. I had a lot of knowledge but I lacked wisdom. I am hoping that I have been cultivating wisdom in my life.

    I am learning to take time to understand others. Because they have had different experiences, they react differently. What matters little to me might mean a great deal to them. It seems I want to take more time and slow things down, especially as my time runs out. As a young man, I thought time was plentiful and abundant. I suffered from that youthful belief that we are immortal and dying is something best left for the aged. I now think about how I spend my time, and who I spend it with. There are so many wonderful people and I just don’t have enough time.

   God is surrounding me with wonderful people. I know people who have beautiful and precious souls. I support them in their struggles and they lovingly support me in mine. This is what I wish for all of you who read this. I have learned much over the past two years. Actually, these are lessons that I wish I had learned while I was young. I better appreciate those around me and try to notice even small gestures.

   When I look in the mirror, I see a man who was once very foolish thinking that knowledge was wisdom. I seek wisdom and understanding now and the rewards so far have been incredible. Journey with me for the remainder of my time here. 50 years of age is relatively young now, but that time seemed to slip by. I intend to make the remaining years count as much or more than my first 50. I hope I can improve and positively change the lives of others as well as my own. 50 years went by so fast and I am afraid the next decades might slip by.

   As I look up to heaven and believe in the reward that awaits me, I also want to ease the suffering here. I want to show people what God’s love looks like. I don’t promote religion, but the simple path of love that Jesus displayed. He wanted us to know that God loves us, always has loved us and always will. I want the opportunity to provide even a shadow of that incredible love to those around me.

   When Jesus was asked “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36–40 (NIV) Jesus said the second is like the first. We are to love one another. This is a lesson that is difficult to learn. We think that love has limits, that it is to be portioned out. Jesus simply asks us to love others the way God loves us.

   Thank you for your time in reading this. Please feel free to tell me about your reflections on your life, whether you are young or very experienced. We have all learned lessons, have lessons to learn and lessons to teach. Will you share some of yours with me? Will you walk with me on this path to seek wisdom and understanding? I hope so.

    I wish for you much love and abundance. Take care, stay well and be safe.

    Love, Justin

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