(Not) on the shelf

Written on the occasion of my 57th birthday, september 28, 2018

My Manifesto in Brief

I turned 57 today, which seems apropos when I look back on my journey.

I’m like Heinz 57 – a mixture made from a multitude of experiences. I have been preacher, teacher, author, taxi driver, assembly worker, salesman, auto electrician, adjuster, manager… and that’s just off the top of my head.

I am Heinz 57 – not quite A1, but not Ketchup, either. Somewhere between the top shelf and the bottom shelf, you will find folks like me. We have more wisdom than you think but we sometimes drown it in folly.

I am Heinz 57 – I have sometimes felt like Septimius Severus of ancient Rome whose last words were recorded as, “I have been everything and everything is nothing.”

I have been everything and everything is nothing. A little urn shall hold all that remains of one for whom the world was too small.

Severus Septimus, Emperor of T

I am Heinz 57 – BUT…I haven’t just been passing the years licking my fingers. I managed to learn a few things. The one thing I would most like to share with you, the one that resonates with my soul at this juncture of my journey is this:

We tend to judge others and ourselves by what we do and what we have. We bestow honor and pay attention to folks in varying degrees based mostly on those two factors. That is not completely wrong. There are giants among us – conquerors, beacons of light, bastions of wisdom. We ought to learn from them. We ought to honor them and remember them for their works and their words. We also ought to remember that they are the exceptions, not the mean.

After a lifetime of judging myself by what I do and what I have, I am content just to be…and be judged by that. Not by what I do. Not by what I have. But by who I am. Freedom and fulfillment come from learning just to be.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:11-13