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If I should ever grow up before I die

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By Rev. James Snyder

I was working on my to-do-list for the upcoming week when I happened to notice the date. I looked up from my work and exclaimed to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, "Do you know that this is the month of July already?"

She looked at me and said, "What month did you think it was?"

I did not want to tell her that I had not been thinking at all, lately. That certainly would have started a completely new line of conversation... or rather monologue. I simply went back to my to-do-list to bring it up-to-date.

The month of July is famous for many things. Of course, there is the Fourth of July celebration. You would think that this would be a big enough celebration for me to realize that it is the month of July. Like many holidays, they are often not celebrated on the right date. Take Presidents’ Day for example. I never know when that one takes place - or Washington’s Birthday. It is never the same each year.

Also, in the month of July many picnic activities should alert me to the intelligence that this is the month of July. Of course, my intelligence meter has been in a state of disrepair for quite some time now. I probably do not know what I am missing.

One date during the month of July is one that I cannot forget without serious consequence. The date I am referring to is the birthday of the young woman who said to me 37 years ago before witnesses, "I do." That is none other than the one who rules the Parsonage... my wife. During the month of July, she celebrates her birthday. And, one of the challenges of the month is for me to remember that it is her birthday and go out and buy a present.

The thing I have often wondered, at least to myself and never out loud, is why, when it is somebody else’s birthday, I have to pay? Common sense would say that whoever is celebrating the birthday is the one who should foot the bill for the birthday party and presents. After all, it is their birthday, not mine. This way, everybody could buy the presents they really want and can afford.

More than once, I have suggested something like this in our house and have always been greeted with one of those glares. My concern is by the time I celebrate (meaning I am footing the bill) for all of the birthdays in our house I will be absolutely broke.

When we first married, it was just one present. Then little ones began coming into our home necessitating buying birthday presents. First one, then two, then three, and I thought I had reached the end of the birthday present scenario. I had for several years.

Then, with a regularity that was a little overwhelming for me, these little bundles of joy grew up and got married. So with three children I now have six birthday presents not including my wife, which makes seven. Let me be quite clear about this, outside of the Bible, seven is not the perfect number.

It was not long before this seven began multiplying faster than I could keep up. Grandchildren are wonderful, but they do add to the birthday present list.

The way the birthday present list runs is like this. The grandmother remembers the dates and picks out the present while the grandfather pays. I would like to have a serious conversation with the person who drew up these rules. I can safely assume it was not a man.

The birthday list runs something like this; three children, three spouses, and somewhere in the neighborhood of eight grandchildren. And they are conveniently stretched out so that there is at least one birthday for every calendar month in the year. I am a little suspicious of this, but to what court can I appeal?

Now, to make matters worse, as if they could get any worse, on top of all of this is my wife’s birthday. If my calculations are correct, this makes for 15 birthday presents throughout the year. I just would like to throw in an interesting little tidbit; the older people get the more expensive the birthday present.

This year I will spend a fortune on my wife’s birthday present.

Then there is another little day in the month of July that has a little bit of importance to me. It is my birthday. I know my birthday comes every year but it has a way of sneaking up on me and surprising me. I do not feel a year older. I do not even look a year older. Okay, maybe the second one is not exactly true.

Of course, looks are not everything. And all of us who do not have "looks," are hoping this is true.

In celebrating my birthday this year, I have established one primary goal. I would like to grow up before I die.

The apostle Paul accomplished this in his life. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV).

Growing old is not hard, it is growing up that is complicated.

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.