Saturday was my birthday so first I want to say "Thank You" to everyone who wished me a happy day.
But this particular day was different from all the others. When my pastor emailed a happy birthday greeting to me, I thanked him and then reminded him that “today begins my exit year,” To which he inquired, “OK, so what’s on your bucket list?
This birthday was #66; a unique day that I have been anticipating for about ten years. This birthday marks the year that I have been predicting my death since 2004. I am not going to elaborate on why or how in this column. It is a whole column on its own and you can read all about it here.
Of course I say all this with tongue in cheek. I don’t pretend to have any special gift of prophecy nor am I planning suicide.However, I do know that as good, and strong, and healthy, and capable as I felt ten years ago, at age 66, I see the evidence of rapid deterioration and I sense the imminent approach of death. And I am not going bore you all with whiny complaints about my ailments, pains, disabilities, or weaknesses; there are plenty of other people around us who love to do that.
Instead, I’ll just refer to this old song, written by Stuart Hamblin. I heard it often when I was a child. I appreciate it much better now; all the things he mentioned in the song, I understand now by experience.
“This Old House” is a metaphor for the run-down body of an old man. He was once a strong protector who now, can’t even get up to go hunting with his dog. He’s weak and worn out. His joints creak and ache and things just don’t work right anymore. His senses are dim and his memory is fading. But he is looking forward to the day when God will raise him up with a brand new, incorruptible "house" and usher him into glory. What a glorious day that will be.
(Disclaimer - I'm not going to edit any part of these song lyrics. If you think anything in this song is racist, please spare me from your inane comments. Get a dictionary, get educated, and then get a life.)
This old house once knew my children
This old house once knew my wife
This old house was home and shelter as we fought the storms of life
This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
Now she trembles in the darkness when the lightnin' walks about.
This old house is getting shaky
This old house is getting old
This old house lets in the rain and this old house lets in the cold
On my knees I'm getting chilly
But I feel no fear or pain
'Cause I see an angel peeking through a broken window pane.
Now my old dog lies asleepin'He don't know I'm gonna leave
Else he'd wake up by the fireplace and he'd sit there, howl and grieve.
But my hunting days are over
Ain't gonna hunt the 'coon no more
Gabriel done brought in the chariot when the wind blew down the door,
Ain't gonna need this house no more
Ain't got time to fix the shingles
Ain't got time to fix the floor
Ain't got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the window pane
Ain't gonna need this house no longer
I'm getting ready to meet the saints
I guess I kinda identify with this prayer of Moses, "... I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!” Numbers 11:14-15
BUCKET LIST? Are you kidding? I ain’t got no stinkin’ bucket list. I have never thought about making a bucket list. But, since he brought it up, I have been thinking about some things I would like to do before I leave.
- I think I would like to have a classic Harley Davidson motorcycle.
- I would like to take an extended road trip across the country with no itinerary, no calendar, no clock, and no destination.
- I’d like to leave The People’s Republik of Kalifornia and move to an independent, free country like Texas.
But then I realized that I will not be doing any of these things as long as my wife is alive. And since she is “much” younger, stronger, healthier, and better looking than I, she will probably outlast me. So I will just be content to kick an empty bucket until the Lord gives me a new "house."