The Dreaded 40

It's amazing how fast life can make a 180-degree solid about turn. Less than 48 hours ago, we were celebrating my birthday, the kids were busy blowing out candles on cakes – one from the church choir folks (thanks Luke and Paul!) and one baked by my mother-in-law. Life was so good, especially when the kids were wonderfully well-behaved.
Then night hit and Caleb came down with a fever. Then Anne. Even now I'm constantly putting cold compresses on her head, trying desperately to keep the fever down. 39.7, 39.6…I'm fighting for every decimal point here. Trying hard to avoid the dreaded 40. For some psychological reason, the late 39's are bad, but 40 is terrible. 40 is the "should I rush her to the hospital or empty a vat of ice on her" threshold.
In Primary school 40 was also a dreaded number. I was in a class of 44 students and my academic grades always had me solidly ranked with the back of the pack. Coming in 37 was a dream, 39 not so good, but 40 and above it became a whole new situation of having to answer for all the sins I've ever committed. All the television I've watched, hours I've spent playing outside instead of studying. Please, dear God, let me come in 39.
Now I am a year closer to 40. It is no longer the photos or birthday cakes that remind me – I feel the aches and pains of a body that doesn't repair itself with the same youthful vigour anymore. It is still some way to go before the big four-oh, but it's clearly sitting there, just at the horizon.
The ghosts of primary school haunt me, but I've had an awesome ride till now, and it is my intent to go out all the way guns ablazing, not letting up in doing whatever it takes to be a better neighbour, or gathering and enabling others to do the same.And in all things giving thanks to God, for whatever the future holds, in Him some things remain secure.

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