Today is my birthday. Me getting born was quite an adventure. First, I was almost born in the basement when my mother was shoveling coal into the furnace that cold May morning in Michigan. She rushed (waddled) upstairs, my aunt staying with us called the doctor (yes, we had a telephone in 1940), the doctor came, then I came.
Butttt, when the doctor asked my mother how she felt, she replied, “I feel awfully full.” After a few moments, the doctor told her she had another one in there. He induced labor, and an hour after I was born, my twin brother was born, precisely at 8:00 AM. We were our mother’s Mother’s Day gift.
Many years after that when my brother and I would argue, he would say he was older than me because eight was a bigger number than seven.
What was it like having a twin? We were never bored. We always had someone to play with. I called him KeeKee and he called me KayKay. It wasn’t until we were in college that people started asking us if we were identical. Duh?
We had a lot of the same freshman college courses, so walked to the classes together. But everyone thought we were dating. So we agreed for one to walk in front of the other and pretend we didn’t know each other.
One convenient thing about having a twin in college is that I put his picture in my dorm room, and he put my picture in his dorm room. Then, when one of our friends said, “Oh, isn’t s/he cute! Is s/he your boy/girl friend?” we would smile and say, “No, s/he is my brother/sister. Would you like to meet him/her?”
After graduation, we went our separate ways the rest of our life except for times of visiting each other. I would tell people it was easy to tell us apart: He was the one with the beard.
What has life been like these 77 years? Not anything like I had dreamed it would be. I have had my share of unimaginable ups and unbelievable downs like anyone else. What held me together was remaining a faithful Christian through all those ups and downs. Dreams? Among others, I think my two greatest dreams were to be a missionary and to write.
Well, I went to Korea for awhile between college semesters, and there seemed to always be roadblocks to returning. But I have tried to stay in touch with the missionaries there these nearly sixty years since. And I have taught and converted quite a few Muslims through World Bible School and World English Institute. So I guess I became a kind-of missionary after all.
As for writing, my first book was begun when I was 17. I finished that book when I was 60. But it was no accident. I started by writing parts of the life of Christ and showing them to my girlfriends. Pretty soon they were saying I should write a book about him. I said, “I’m too young. I need to do a lot of living before I can come close to truly understanding what Jesus said and did among people.” Through the years I’d get the MS out and toy with it, then put it back in the closet. But I kept my promise to my young self and my girlfriends and finished writing it when I was 60. It included 100 people Jesus met and struggled with.
It took me another 13 years to get it published. That was four years ago. Ten days from now I am going to be pitching They Met Jesus to nine Hollywood producers and screenwriters to turn my 80 chapters into a weekly TV series. If it is accepted, it will be another three years raising money, hiring, building, and screenwriting to get the first episode out. I will be ~ shall I confess? I will be eighty by then.
But that’s okay. Between finishing the eight books of They Met Jesus and now, I have written thirty-eight other books ~ both non-fiction and fiction (and have bunches more in my head). If God wants me to keep writing, he will keep my mind fresh and my body reasonably healthy. May I accept with grace whatever shall be.
One final thought. Since teaching the Bible to so many Muslims (6000 so far) and encouraging them when they lost jobs, were beaten, had their children taken away, were hauled into court, were threatened with imprisonment and death, I have thought much about my own earth leaving. Shall the student be braver than his teacher?
When I was younger, I used to pray for “a quiet hour in which to die”. But I do not do that anymore. Now I pray, “Let my dying have meaning.” Let it be my last gift to the world ~ that I stood up for Christ and let his enemies destroy my earthly body rather than renounce him.
So, now, I come to the end of my musings on this, my 77th birthday. My wish for all of you who have read through this whole thing is a special understanding of your eternal soul ~ yes, eternal. And that death is life ~ if you belong to HIM. May we all face our “life-taking” some day with boldness and jubilation.
I may live another twenty years. But, I’m putting the angels on notice. Attention angels. Are you ready? I’m getting closer….