Sixty years ago yesterday a baby took his first breath in the maternity ward of St. Vincent’s Infirmary in Little Rock. That baby was me. There were no Facebook posts and no videos of the event. My dad was not allowed in the delivery room. He was in the waiting room with other nervous fathers, smoking cigarettes, drinking stale coffee, and trying to stay calm. He had no idea if I was going to be a boy a girl. After what seemed like an eternity, the maternity nurse came in to say, “Congratulations, Mr. McCallum, you have a healthy, red-headed boy. Do you have a name for him?” And my daddy said, “We’re going to call him John Scott.” So my dad went down the hall with a pocketful of dimes to plug the pay phone and call some folks who were on pins and needles just waiting for the news.
Wow! Where has the time gone? In the middle of hard seasons, tough times, and dark nights of the soul, time drags like a hundred pound bag of cement. But when I look back, it’s been a blink. And since 60, like any change of decade, is something of a milestone age, I spent a little time thinking about it. Here are some random thoughts on turning 60.
When I was a young man, I thought 60 seemed ancient. Now that I’m 60, I discover that I was right.
In biblical numerology the number six represents man and imperfection. 60 might represent an imperfect man ten times over. That would be me—and the older I get the more I realize it.
I’ve never had people make more about one of my birthdays than this 60th one. Does that mean that they are surprised I made it, relieved that I made it, or felt the need to throw a party because at such an advanced age, it could me my last?
People under 60 like to tease me about it. People over 60 look at me with a long face and shake their head.
Some people told me that 60 is the new 40. As I recall, 40 wasn’t all that great either.
Others told me that 60 is no big deal because age is just a number. True … but in terms of human lifespan, it’s a pretty big number.
Still others said, “You don’t look 60.” Does that mean that when I finally look 60, I am going to have to hide my face lest I frighten children and small animals?
60 is the age where you are too tired to work all the time but too young to retire.
I’m going to have to live a lot longer if I want to shoot my age in golf.
When you make it to 60, you have a lot of blessings to count that helped you make it to that age.
So I spent time early in the morning on my birthday counting those blessings—the mercy and salvation I have in Jesus at His great expense; His incredible patience with me in the ups and downs of a long Christian walk; numerous people who invested in me along the way and some who invest in me even now; churches that loved me and taught me a lot about grace and mercy; decent health; God carrying me through some pretty deep water during seasons in my life; a family that has always drawn me closer to God; a lot of answered prayers; a lot of unanswered prayers; friends that accept me as I am; and opportunities to invest in God’s kingdom work around the world.
That morning, as I was praying my gratitude to God, a Scripture and a hymn came to mind. The Scripture—Psalm 103:1-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
And the hymn—Amazing Grace, stanza 3:
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
As of September 26, 2016, I’m 60 years closer to getting there.