Still, given how we do consider anniversaries, this is a big year for me. In decreasing order of importance:
- 35 years of marriage (celebrated in June)
- 25 years of full-time music ministry (quietly noted in July)
- 55th birthday (around the corner)
The biggest surprise of my life was being called into vocational ministry. I didn't look for it, and I didn't prepare for it - not, at least, in the usual ways. But I welcomed it, and continue to celebrate the privilege and joy of it. Most of the time. There is only one relationship or commitment or covenant that trumps this calling: and I celebrate that each year, one month earlier.
Now, as to my age. Of course there is nothing I can do about that. I can't take credit for it, and I can't predict how many birthdays I'll have. I may be able to do some things, little things, wise things, to live well while I can. But I can't control my age. "My time is in [God's] hands." "So teach us to number our days aright." And that's really the best I can do.
But it does set me to wondering, as I approach that august age, 55. Official AARP eligibility. At College Church, I could move from "guest pastor" to official member of the Keenagers group. It all makes me wonder - what will the next 10-15 years of my vocational ministry be like, anyway? Will I continue to serve in all the ways I have done? Will I retain the privilege of overseeing and leading duly constituted services of worship? Will I train younger musicians to step into these roles? All of the above? Some of the above? None of the above?
These questions are not pensive, but exciting. I enjoy my work, the musicians and pastors I get to work with, and the satisfaction of entering my 15th year at College Church. I am enrolled in a graduate theology course, and applying for admission to that degree program. I think there has never been a more exciting time to be in church music - never more opportunity to serve creatively. I am convinced that regardless of how it looks, my calling will keep me engaged with planning and leadership of gathered worship.
If I don't know what it will all look like, next year, or a decade from now - well, then that is just like a bike ride in a city I haven't been in before. I know how to navigate, how to ride safely, and the right things to look for ... everything else is adventure.