Several months ago, on my birthday, Feb. 19th, I received a notice from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) that next year, on my 60th birthday, my driver’s license will expire. Coincidentally, Janet’s license expires next April, on her next birthday, as well. I have kept the notice in my email inbox, figuring that sometime in the next 6 months or so I will renew online and get that job behind me. Since neither one of us have any points on our records, our renewals will be for 6 years from the expiration dates of our current licenses.
That means that I will be 66 years old the next time that I have to get a license. Ironically, while Janet and I were returning home from an errand that we ran this afternoon, we unexpectedly passed the local branch of the BMV. We had a few minutes to spare and so I turned in to get our renewals done in person. It wasn’t very busy and as I took our number, I couldn’t help but reflect on how things have changed over the years.
For example, the first branch I visited almost 30 years ago was in a dingy little retail space across from Carmel United Methodist Church, on Rangeline Road. It had yellowed out fluorescent ceiling lights and old, dark panelling on the walls. You waited in those orange stackable chairs that everyone had back then and when your number was called, you had to stand at a chest high counter while your business was being conducted. I vividly remember my first visit there in the fall of 1982.
After that, the branch moved to the Merchant’s Square Mall, where our friends, the Johnsons, owned The Peanut Shack, a local nut and fudge store near Target. Roger Johnson and I had some great times back then, but as you know, he has since died from pancreatic cancer and the mall has been totally changed and doesn’t resemble anything like it used to be.
Next, there was the move to the larger branch, where many of the workers ended up getting sick and the branch had to be closed for some unrevealed mold or toxin that was found in the space. For a time, all business had to be conducted in Fishers, the next suburb over, but eventually, a new Carmel office opened and that is where we ended up today, for the first time. Thankfully, the last several years, since we haven’t bought any new vehicles, all our renewals for plates, etc. have been done on the internet. And that’s something that didn’t even exist back when we moved to Carmel.
As I sat there waiting this afternoon I recalled all the different branches and how things have changed throughout the years. Of course, I also thought about how I have changed. Back in the beginning, I was 30 years old, looking to find my identity in Carmel, and trying to garner some success in our new adopted town. Jim Brainard, currently Carmel’s great mayor, passed the Indiana Bar the week I moved here and we became fast friends. He actually wrote my first business contract when I started the company here.
We attended the Methodist Church where, coincidentally, I will preach at on Sunday. How ironic… Then, the wonderful times with the Johnsons and all the new cars and excitement of starting to gain some success. The memories came flooding back when they took my new photo this afternoon and I realized how much my physical appearance has changed. The different styles of glasses I now wear, the addition of blood pressure and high cholesterol meds, pounds gained and lost throughout the years and several bouts with skin cancer. That doesn’t include gall bladder surgery and the huge scar I now carry, the auto accident where Jill and I were both badly cut, and numerous other reminders of our human frailties and the aging process.
But the biggest change that has occurred was not visible in a photograph. Because that change has happened inside. It is the movement that I have made toward a more God centered life. The spiritual journey that I have been on all this time has in fact made me stronger, not weaker. And while I may have more aches and pains, my faith has never been stronger and God has never been more central in our lives. And in the eternal scheme of things, that is much more important than hair loss….
Even this blog is maturing. I notice the change in my writing style as I get more posts under my belt. In fact, tonight marks post #365. That’s a full year if I had written every day. And there are still many verses in the Bible left to use. Tonight, I am reflecting on my relationship with Christ and how it has grown throughout the years.
Yet I still don’t really know Him the way I would like. Paul felt the same way about His walk with Christ. He really makes his point in his letter to the Corinthians. In 1 Cor. 13:12, Paul tells us, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
My encouragement this evening is for you to continue to grow in your relationship with God. He will be around forever and so He has the time to invest in you. My prayer is that you choose to make sure that you continue to grow stronger spiritually as you age, hopefully gracefully. Of course, I’m sure that your driver’s license photo won’t reflect your true beauty…. In the meantime, grace and peace…