As men we have certain points in our growth and maturity that are difficult to traverse. For instance, the ages of 13, 18, and 30 are some of the real doozies. Let me explain.
The age of 13 is our first real awkward transition point as a developing man. And, in it, we realize that we are glad we only need to go through that time once in our entire life. Leaving home at the age of 18 and suddenly realizing that mommy is not there to wash our clothes is another shocker to the male constitution (after all pink socks, pink underwear, and pink undershirts are difficult to adapt to while in college and attempting to appear manly). Or how about the age of 30 when your wife turns to you and says, “Honey, I want a mini-van!”?
Yes, those are all really sizable challenges. But, I’m here to tell you that the age of 46 presents challenges even more grandiose.
At the age of 46, something rather dramatic happens. One day, while you are minding your own business walking down 1st Avenue on the way to the barber shop, you are suddenly surrounded by a host of hooded figures that place their hand over your mouth, a blindfold over your eyes, and tie your hands behind your back. They stick you into the trunk of a car that suddenly squeals to a stop at the curbside where you are struggling, and then after the trunk lid slams shut with finality, the car peels away.
While in the trunk, everything begins to become clear in your life. You think about God, you think about your wife, you think about your kids, and … you think about your life. Everything is questioned, every rock is turned over, every decision evaluated. You ponder death, you ponder all the things left undone. You grieve how many “I love yous” were not said out loud. You ache for all the times you chose to answer an email instead of squat down on the ground and wrestle with the kids. You grieve over every time you spoke critical words to your spouse instead of tender words of affection. And the whole while you are in that trunk, you are pondering how surprisingly short your stint on earth was. “It can’t be over this quick,” you whisper, “it just can’t!” The longing to have another stretch of time to do it even better pounds over and over in your soul.
Then, just as suddenly as the mob of hooded figures grabbed you and hogtied you, just as suddenly you awaken. You are laying on the couch on a Sunday afternoon having a little siesta. But that siesta was anything but relaxing. The blindfold and the rope tying your hands is not there. You are not inside a trunk, but, boy was that real.
Psychologists have a name for this “trunk experience.” It’s called midlife crisis.
Every man handles their midlife crisis a little different. Some men conclude that they have spent too much time trying to please others that it’s high time they start pleasing themselves. These are the ones that buy boats, second homes in Tahiti, and second, ahem, wives on Craig’s List. After the trunk experience they sort of just loose it.
As a 46-year-old, who has recently had a very real trunk experience, I’ve decided I’m not going to loose it. I’m not going the boat route. Instead, I’ve decided that I’m going to pour out even more in this second half of my life than I did in the first half. I want to love Jesus more, show more affection to my wife, delight even more in my kiddos, and speak the Truth of Jesus even louder (if that’s possible).
It’s not an accident that the launch of our new Discipleship Training Model is during my 46th year. This is my response to spending a couple hours gagged and bound in a trunk and pondering the short time I have here on this earth. It’s my way of saying, “Let’s get the Gospel to as many people as we can!” It’s my way of making good to what I said to God while I spent my time in the trunk.
The age of 46 may have some unique points of challenge in it. For instance, I now black-out when I do a forward roll, I can’t focus on object up-close, and the tone of my muscles is … well … not that of an 18-year-old’s. But, the age of 46 also has given me great clarity as to what really matters in life. And I’m going after it with all that I have within me!