Being born on a leap year (February 29), oh so many years ago, I’ve had quite a bit of experience with the “in-between.” Three out of every four years I don’t have an actual birth day. That’s not to say I’ve suffered in the celebration department, on the contrary. For most of my life I chose to celebrate on the 28th, since it seemed odd to go between February and March birthdays…..(silly girl.) Then somewhere during my 40s I realized the error of my ways and claimed BOTH February 28 and March 1 as my birthdays, creating a birthday block that usually extended to a birthday week (and my family would add, a birthday month!)
I’ve had lots of fun being a leap year baby, but I do admit, I especially like it when I get a “real” birthday. The other years, though I get “2 for 1”, are still off-years where I visualize my birthday being a nanosecond between the 28th and 1st, whizzing by in a flash of confetti and sparkles. People often ask me how old I really am – 13 3/4 – which means of my 55 years of life, 42 of them have been “in-between” years. And that makes me wonder how many other things besides non-leap year birthdays are lived “in-between.”
SO many things come to mind. We plan a vacation, then wait for the departure to finally arrive. We bake a delicate souffle and wait for the moment that reveals if it’s fallen or not. We make a gift for a dear one and wait for them to open it. We go the the DMV and….well….you know.
Then there are the weightier “in-betweens”. We go for medical tests and wait for results. We apply for a desperately needed job, then wait for a response. We reach out to mend a broken relationship and wait for the reception. Our hearts are broken and we wait to feel normal again. Come to think of it, more of life is lived in the “in-between” than in the “we’re here – this is it” moments. If that’s the case, I don’t want to spend so much time living for the future (and definitely not living the past) that I’m not really living now.
Though, believe me, there are times I would like to have absolute control, power, authority and lordship over not only my life, but the lives and well-being of my loved ones, I’m truly grateful I don’t! I have control of my choices…my actions…my words….only me. All else is somewhere “in-between”, and as a Christian, it gives me such comfort to know, though I’m not in control, I’m in with the One who is. Though waiting can be excruciating, and I don’t know anyone who relishes it, we live so much life there, it seems a waste of beautiful time to not embrace even the “in-between” times, don’t you think?
Jesus lived most….well, actually all of his 33 years as a human being in a place of “in-between.” If he was, as scripture teaches, fully God and yet fully human, that tells me he also knew conflict! If he knew the glories of Heaven, yet chose to spend time not just on earth, but getting the full human experience of being born, being raised, being taught, being embraced, and finally being rejected, it had to feel like a very long 33 years of somewhere in-between Heaven and earth – immortality and mortality. There had to be times when he so longed for the freedom from restrictions, pain and people who never seemed to understand who he was or why he came. He knew he would eventually return to his rightful place of glory and authority, where there would be a king’s welcome upon his return. But until then…..in the “in-between”…..there was so much work, so much life to be experienced, and I don’t see him wasting it.
Life is such a precious gift. It can be taken from us in the flash of a nanosecond “in-between” birthday. I don’t want to spend any of it waiting for the “thing to come that’s not quite here yet.” I want to embrace it now. And so I will. Join me? =)