I completed my 27th trip around the sun today. Its the first birthday for me, perhaps ever, that really felt quite poignantly meaningful. Birthdays are usually just a fun day - an excuse to party, but for perhaps the first time I've approached the milestone with a great deal of introspection. And this is what I've come to:

I have not redeemed my days.

One thing that's led directly to this conclusion as of late is a matter of comparison. I've been reading Flyboys, a "heartbreaking and horrifying saga of eight American airmen who went down during bombing runs over the Pacific" in World War 2. In the first half of the book the author did a painstaking job of setting the scene - describing who these young boys were and what fates awaited them in the hands of their enemies. While focused on these eight, you begin to realize the gravity of the sheer volume of life lost in the conflict. And they were just boys. Most of the main characters focused on were around the age of 19 when they were shot down, captured, executed, and even cannibalized.

But not a single one of them ran from their fate. Each and every one marched toward it with the bold resolution that can only be gained through the absolute knowledge that you are doing what you were created to do, and it is right. These boys saw their destiny to defend their families and country, and nothing would stop them from doing it - not even the promise of torture and death.

I realize it is a great leap to lay such a claim, but I envy that absolute knowledge. Though eternally grateful for the inheritance I claim from the blood they spilled, and though I would seek to be content in my time - I yearn for the complete assurance that I am fulfilling what I was created for. And to die having that comfort - to know that you took all that God gave you and laid it on the altar...a life not perfect but a life complete. The psalmist David asked the Lord who would praise Him from the grave - I believe it is lives so sacrificed for justice that do just that.

I've been given a different road to hoe. And, as is natural to the state of affairs today, I've taken it rather at ease. I've had a good life and taken things as they came to me. I've worked hard and perhaps done a few good things (relatively speaking) here and there, but I have done nothing great. I intend to start changing that - to start making a difference, to take what I've been given and redeem it and somehow find my destiny through that.

I suppose to have your destiny thrust in front of you, in stark relief, is both a blessing and a curse, in some ways. Perhaps to have to seek it out through the many days of a long life isn't all that different. To fulfill your purpose either way takes great effort, its just the time-frame you have to complete it in that differs. In the end, it won't be anything that I did that gets me into heaven - my ticket was written long ago by Christ. And so, seeking out what it is that I am here for is not something I do for a reward - it is something I must do, because I was created for it.

I've waited, and it hasn't found me, as it did the Flyboys. Perhaps my purpose is simpler, and harder to see - a life lived in the workplace, perhaps raising a family, no heat-of-battle war hero, no blaze of glory. But there is a greatness of some sort out there awaiting its accomplishment. This is the year I set out to find it for myself.

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