What’s your favorite number?

You might remember the number on your jersey when you played a sport or from one of the athletes you cheer. You might recall a date from an important life experience. You might reflect on a time of smaller numbers on prices or larger numbers on investments.

Today, my number is 62.

That is not my favorite number of choice. Today, 62 is my age.

And I’m fine with that.

Aging hasn’t bothered me.

I can’t really recall turning 2. Ancient pictures reveal my little boy face, my two sisters enjoying their baby brother, and my parents smiling like everything in the world would be okay.

I do remember when I was 12. A season of transition, both at that age and our family moving from one small town in Georgia to another. Departing and entering. Saying goodbye and saying hello. Meeting new friends. Developing new skills. Change. I was learning life would be bombarded by change.

I also remember when I was 22. A married college graduate, moving to Florida. Seasons of change, of adjusting, of joy. My mother had died too soon for me, and that was difficult. But it was time. Time to move and to grow and to see change. Time to begin the journey of life in my own family, and offering pastoral care to others. I had hair, had been married a little over a year, serving as a youth pastor. Enjoying life.

When I was 32, pastoring and healthy, watching our three sons play ball and make us laugh, we didn’t know how much would change in a few years. Preaching and coaching and reading and writing.

At 42 my family and I were learning to manage a devastating illness that almost took my life. I was pastoring in Orlando, Florida. So much transition. So much change. Memory, emotions, medication, communication, needing naps, needing to adjust unstable emotions, needing friends. My hair had left me. Adjusting to so much change, and not knowing how. Guiding weddings and funerals and staff meetings and a wonderful congregation.

When I turned 52, it was still hard to believe we had returned to Georgia. But I loved it. My job working with college students, my freedom to travel and speak various places, my opportunities to encourage people living with epilepsy, and writing books were all experiences I cherished. Grandfather, mentor, teacher, learner. Enjoying the changes—four seasons, breakfast at the Roystonian or The Dillard House. Georgia hills, time on the lake, Thursday dinner at BarH, true friends, serving at Emmanuel College.

And today I’m 62. Still aging rapidly. My father and father-in-law have passed away. Debbie and I have eight grandchildren. Though she’s endured a few frightening health issues, I’m so glad Debbie is still beside me. My eleventh book came out this year and it describes lessons I’ve learned in these decades of life— Equilibrium: 31 Ways to Stay Balanced on Life’s Uneven Surfaces.

Life feels so unpredictable, unstable, unsafe. But we can find safe places to walk, whatever our age or our health or our job or our income. Balancing the chaos with clarity. Balancing the busyness with smiles, deep breaths, dear friends, and honest prayers.

And you? Not, “What is your age today?” But “How are you really doing?” On today’s number of 7/21/2022, “How are you?”

What do you enjoy? Where is your hope? Who are the true friends you can talk to about anything? How is your relationship with God? What difference are you making in this world?

Whatever your age, you’re here.

Please don’t give up. Change is also here, as is hope and love and help.

Refuse to delete your hope.

Choose to love everybody everywhere—including yourself.

Seek help. Appropriate, healthy, safe help.

Whatever your favorite number, please know you are valued and important.

Whenever your birthday and whatever your age, choose today to be a time where hope and love and help are parts of your story