Turning 60 and Thankful

By Canon Lynell Walker


Now I know that turning “anything” is always good but sixty just didn’t have a good ring to it. Words like unemployable, gray, joint pain, lost keys, faces but no names, and discounts at Denny’s just didn’t appeal to me. But three things happened that day that proved me terribly wrong.

The first surprise was a gift certificate to fly an ultra-light plane out at Freedom Field in Elverta.  I have always wanted to fly. It had to be a small craft, as I wanted the sensation of soaring, AND it had to have an engine (gliding over cliffs was not an option). The model we flew was a two seat enclosed craft with two sets of controls for the pilot and his guest.  What stunned me the most was that it took off at only 45 mph. What I learned that day was that there is a direct correlation between one’s ability to soar and the baggage one carries!

The second thing we did was to hear Tina Turner in concert at Arco Arena. I have always loved her music but more than that I wanted to go to be close to someone willing to totally expend their gifts for another. She holds nothing back for herself. I would pay good money to simply watch her strut and hum! Somehow she has learned to move beyond issues of fear and risk that keep many of us too contained.  I want to preach like Tina sings, I want to teach like Tina sings, I want to live like Tina sings.

The last thing I did to celebrate this auspicious occasion was to visit my eldest son in Colorado. The fall colors were stunning and the weather was still warm.  He decided we needed to go play golf. I have never played golf in my life and the thought of partnering up with another’s tee time was embarrassing. Scott’s experience with golf was not much beyond mine and we encouraged our experienced companion to play on through as this event could take us hours!  But he compassionately said, “Maybe I can help.”  He was such a gentle soul and encouraged us to merely have fun…and a good time was had by all. It’s hard to start something when you have no memory of that event in your life. Absolutely everything about it must be learned. It requires being a fool. There was a time in my life that I would have declined Scott’s invitation but I’m 60 now and have a history of being a fool and have not only survived but have learned skills I would never have imagined.

This season of Thanksgiving I am grateful to learn the importance of shedding the baggage of life, lavishing the gifts God has given for benefit of others, and risking trying something new for the sheer joy of the adventure.  What is God inviting you to try for the sheer joy of it?  (Don’t wait until you’re 60!)


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