40 Years: A Reflection

40 is here. It’s official. 40 years I have been on this planet.

I’m honestly not sure what I thought I would feel today. I’m still not sure what I feel other than blessed to have such great family and friends around me.

Not that long ago 40 seemed so far away.

But now…it’s here.

I’ve been with my wife for nearly half of those 40 years. That doesn’t even seem possible, but it is.

I’ve been a father for almost 1/3 of my life. That sounds weird saying it, but again…it’s true.

I’ve lived in 5 states in that time (VA, TN, WV, NC, & SC).

I’ve been driving a car for nearly 2/3’s of my life. I still remember the day I went to go get my license. I was so nervous and so excited. Now…it’s just a normal part of life.

So much has changed for me and the world in 40 years.

I watched home phones hanging on the wall (and pay phones in public that you had to call “collect” on when you forgot change), desktop computers that required floppy disks to do anything and had a whopping 5MB hard drive, and disposable cameras that you had to wait days to get the film developed just to see if you took a good picture get replaced by mobile phones hanging out in your pocket. Mobile phones that are more powerful than the first computer we ever owned, with instant photography that I can share around the world in an instant, and that I can use to text, video chat, and talk to anyone, anywhere, at anytime.

I watched paper books get replaced by digital book readers, and libraries get replaced with online libraries where I can find any book I could imagine with a simple Google search.

I participated in the birth of the internet.

I participated in the birth of social media.

I watched Hollywood Video, Family Video, Blockbuster, and other brick and mortar video rental stores get replaced by online streaming and RedBox machines outside gas stations and grocery stores.

I’ve been through 7 presidents and voted in 5 national elections.

I watched the Challenger Shuttle explode on TV while millions watched on.

I watched the OJ Simpson debacle transpire and the Oklahoma City Bombing happen.

I watched the government torch the David Karesh compound with people still inside.

I watched a cult lure people into committing suicide in order to catch a ride on a shooting star.

I watched the Olympic Torch run right by me on its way to Atlanta Georgia.

I marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as well as the Rose Bowl Parade.

I lived through (and played in) a snow storm so large it was called the “Storm of the Century”.

I watched several of the worst school shootings to ever transpire in human history.

I watched the two towers in New York City tumble while I was eating breakfast and getting ready to go to work.

I’ve seen 2 presidents impeached.

I watched the birth of the iPhone and iPod (even though I started out as an Android guy).

I watched the first black president get elected in American history.

I saw the death of Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

I saw Vanilla Ice rip off Queen and try to say he didn’t.

I saw the Berlin wall come down.

I saw the end of the Soviet Union.

I saw the end of the Cold War which began shortly after World War II.

I saw the birth of the EU.

I saw big box stores get taken to the cleaners by eBay and Amazon.

I saw the birth of Google and Yahoo.

I saw a sheep get cloned.

I saw the institution of the international space station.

I remember airports before AND after 9/11.

I helped clean up the rubble in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

I’ve lived through a global pandemic.

I’ve lived through recessions.

I saw the first woman in space (Sally Ride).

I saw the fallout of Chernobyl.

I saw the human population hit 5 billion.

I saw the first computer virus.

I saw Nelson Mandela freed.

I saw the end of apartheid in South Africa.

I saw the LA riots after the Rodney King beating.

I saw the death of Lady Diana.

I saw the first text message get sent from 1 mobile phone to another (Nokia).

I saw the World Series (MLB) get cancelled.

I saw the birth of the flat screen TV and the end of bunny ears.

I lived through Y2K.

I saw the Lord of the Rings become a world wide phenomenon.

I saw the human genome sequence deciphered.

I saw the end of AOL.

I used dial up internet.

I saw the UK leave the EU.

I saw the birth of YouTube.

I learned to type on a typewriter.

I remember paying less than $1 for a gallon of gas.

I traveled to Turkey, Cypress, England, Canada, Mexico, and Jamaica.

I bought a house.

I had four kids.

I saw the end of Saturday morning cartoons.

I saw virtual reality become realistic.

I got a college degree.

I’ve served in ministry (in some capacity) since I was 19 (over half my life).

I saw the birth of the electric car and self driving vehicles.

I saw the birth of unmanned flying machines (drones).

I’ve lived through hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and blizzards.

I shared the gospel in Turkey, Cypress, and Mexico.

I’ve watched some of the greatest musicians of the modern era leave this world.

I’ve written songs.

I recorded a song in Nashville.

I started podcasts and had them heard on nearly every continent.

There has been so much highlighted above, and so much that I haven’t even highlighted at all.

As I reflect over the last 40 years, I can’t help but wonder what the next 40 years will bring. If this much has already happened in the 40 years I’ve been here, I can’t imagine what the next 40 holds.

I could focus on what I didn’t do over those 40 years. Or focus on the things I wish I hadn’t done. But none of that matters now. What does matter is how I spend the next 40 years. I want to make the most of every second of every day in a way that brings honor to my heavenly Father and demonstrates my love to my wife, children, family, friends, and those I’ve yet to meet.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of my life.

You are a part of my story.

And I…I am part of yours.

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