At 5:36 AM EST I will officially turn 32 years old. As I sit and reflect on short yet long enough time on this Earth I’ve come to lot of realizations about who I am as a person and how exactly how I came to be the type of person I am. The past year has been a trying, challenging one and despite how hard it’s been it seemed to fly by. Last year I spent my birthday weekend in San Diego attending a wedding of my girlfriend’s childhood friend. Although things weren’t perfect then I still thought that things in my life could get a lot better.
What a difference a year makes. I’ve learned that things can always get worse. Instead of counting my problems I’m still learning to count my blessings. It’s still a process because regardless of how many blessings you have when a lot of bad things happen at once its extremely difficult to only focus on the good.
The drawbacks I’ve had in my life over the past year have allowed me to rethink my views and ideas as it pertains to certain things.
I thought I knew humility before. I like to think of myself as a modest person but nothing makes you more humble than being a grown man who is forced to move back into your mother’s house. It’s not a situation where I’m a bum who dropped out of school and isn’t trying to better myself. I have a PhD in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology and I’m a great molecular biologist. When your salary (read here) or the amount of jobs available is based on how much Congress allocates to biomedical research you might be shit outta luck. Scientists across the country are being laid off left and right but that doesn’t make me feel any better about my situation.
Fact still remains most of my longest friends are married, own homes and/or have children. Last night I went out with my friends I’ve known since before I could grow a mustache for another birthday outing and all my friends were having conversations and showing each other videos/pictures of their children. Either that or they were talking about things homeowners discuss. I had nothing to contribute to those conversations. I know my time will come but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad bit jealous of not having things I put off in order to focus on a career and building a life for my future family that I didn’t have.
I think we need to realize that it also has to go beyond this paradigm of prayer that we have in the traditional church, because there’s a part where prayer almost borders on superstition in today’s culture. It’s the idea that we can petition somehow and magic happens when, really, prayer should be a clarification of one’s internal being in relationship to an external world.
Rev. Grayland Scott Hagler
Today I sat with my father discussing my maturation into manhood and he told me how lucky I am to be turning 32. He also told me he was proud of all that I’ve accomplished in my life. He asked how things were going with my job search and I started to vent to him my frustrations. When I was done he asked me if I believed in God. I thought it was a silly question but I answered anyway. He told me that if I pray to God hard enough He could bring me thru anything. While I surely do believe that I also believe that faith without works is dead. I’ve grown stronger in spirituality and my personal relationship with Christ. I don’t just pray because I’m going thru hard times but I genuinely want to be on a path closer to God. While I’m growing closer to God I find myself growing further away from zealots who tend to dominate organized religion. Perhaps this is the reason I haven’t had a church home in more than two years.
A woman, Tiffany, whose bravery to step away from a great profession and make a dynamic career change, I admire recently wrote a post on the difference between joy and happiness and the pursuit of both. While reading that post I realized that I lost my joy a while ago. I have some bright spots in my life that has brought me so much happiness but in the end those are external factors that have made me feel better about myself. My joy, which can only come from within, vanished and I’ve only recently come to realize it. A friend of mine who has known me for quite sometime told me recently that I’ve changed. Not in an overt obvious way but with subtle changes in my personality are glaring if anyone pays attention.
I need to get back to a point where I’m joyous again. Where I can be a beacon of happiness to others. I know it’s not something that’s going to change overnight because it didn’t get that way overnight.
Notwithstanding everything I still know that I’m blessed. I have good health. In the end whoever has health has wealth. I truly believe that. People seem to mistake me for 5-7 years younger than what I actually am. I think that this is a good thing. I’m able to run 30-40 miles weekly while I know there are people half my age that can’t do that. I’m disease free. When multiple people I know my age or younger have passed from cancer its a nothing but a blessing to not have that deal with that battle. I have friend and family who care about me. Despite the fact that I lost my job they have been my support system. Sometimes I have been supported emotionally, sometimes financially and sometimes spiritually.
Father in Heaven, I pray to you that year 32 for your child is a blessed one. You have not brought me this far to leave me now. Forsake my enemies and detractors who will have me fail and be miserable. Create new opportunities that will prove that the trials and tribulations I have been through were just preparing me to receive your abundance tenfold. Cover my friends and family with your anointing that they may also know what a glorious name you have. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.