40 – MILESTONE NOT MILLSTONE

I must add this quickly: Thank you to all the decorator elves who helped me with the party this afternoon. I am not a party decorator. I don’t enjoy it. I persevered, but I never would have made it without the decorator elves.

A friend of mine turned 40 yesterday. For him, it was a milestone, not a millstone. This milestone did not injure him as much as some thought it would. I know he really enjoyed all of the little celebrations we had for him throughout the day, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to show him how much I value his friendship.

Last night, while making some of the lists and fun things to give my friend for his birthday, it hit me like a ton of bricks that my brother would be 40 this December. I don’t know why thoughts like that sneak up on me and stun me like that, but this one did. I remember all the teasing he gave me when I turned 30 and I promised him that I would pay him back bigtime when he turned 40. I started plotting my revenge then, but two years later, he was gone.

I am now older than Scott was when he died. Closer to 40 than he got the chance to be. I don’t know why my Scott undertow is still so strong. (See God is Bigger Than the Ocean) It’s not that I think I’ll forget I ever had a big brother or that his death did not affect me greatly, I just didn’t think I’d be sitting here nearly four years after he was gone and have my emotions be tossed around so much preparing for a friend’s 40th birthday party.

When I am caught in the Scott undertow, I find myself back in Scott’s hospital room, standing by his bed in the darkness, promising him I would not waste my life. The only sound in the room is the humming and buzzing of the instruments that keep him alive. His hand is cold in mine and I feel my heart being ripped to shreds. It’s all as real to me today as it was then, a place in my mind where time stands still and anguish still squeezes all the air from my lungs.

It’s not that I believe my life is a waste, but lately I am overwhelmed by the feeling that I am wasting my life. Then I emerge from Scott’s room and I am thrust back to the present. I stand and look in the mirror and think, “you hypocrite.” And there, I find, is the ton of bricks that stunned me last night. I just couldn’t put words to it until now.

Truthfully, if I knew exactly where to go from here, I’d probably get a speeding ticket on the way. Nothing is clear to me right now other than the smell of the ocean. My eyes sting from the salt, and I am disoriented.

I have to remind myself once again, that God is bigger than the ocean.

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