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Friday, September 30, 2011

40 years of living

Today I celebrate 40 years of life.  Not sure where all that time went, but it's gone.  I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to take my birthday off and spend the day going to places where I have a lot of memories.  So that's what I have been up to today.  I have been all over the Salem and Keizer areas looking at the places that hold so many dear memories.

I started this life at Salem General Hospital on Center St in Salem.  It's great that where I took my first breath is now part of the state mental hospital.  I find this kinda funny....  I drove around and looked at the schools I attended and let my mind get lost in the memories of days long gone.  I remembered friends and teachers, playing on the playground and skipping school in high school (best 4 1/2 years of my life) the skipping did come with a cost!  :)  

I went and looked at the houses of grand parents, aunts & uncles.  I saw the houses where we would get together as a family, share meals and good times.  I went to the house where I learned to ride a bike.  I remember my aunt baking in the kitchen and us kids playing in the yard.  At each stop I would say a prayer of thanks for the people who God put in my life, the people who made me who I am.

My next stop was at another house, this one is the home of my God Parents also a aunt and uncle.  I remember playing in the big back yard and many holidays spent in this house.  I remember my cousin Donald taking me for rides on his motorcycle in a field close to the house.  In this house I played Atari 2600 and had a blast with my cousins.  This was also the place where the family gathered after the passing of my Grand Father.  There are many great memories in this home, a few sad ones, it's a place where life has been lived.

I stopped by the places that are special to me because of the ties to me and Melissa.  I stopped by the state capitol where we would walk around the park.  It was here where we held hands for the first time (it was our fifth date).  I stopped by Toy's R Us, the place I met Melissa.  Yup all the magic started at Toy's R Us!!  I spent some time at Corbin College which was Western Baptist College when I was dating one of it's students.  There are many good memories if this place.  I spent some time at Salem Alliance Church.  I grew up in this church, 35 years and counting.  In this church I was baptized with my mom, married to Melissa and my kids were dedicated to God.  This church has been my church home, the men who have been it's pastor's are some of my spiritual hero's.  Thanks to men of faith, who have taught me about Jesus and prayed with me in the times I needed prayer.

As I continued my trek it became very clear to me that this journey was not about seeing homes or places but was about remembering and honoring people.  I am who I am today because a group of people loved me.  They gave me guidance, wisdom and encouraged me along the way.  Today I am me because they were each a piece of the fabric I am made from.  With this in mind my trek took on a whole new significance, the new goal was to go to the places and give thanks.  To say a blessing for the people attached to the place.  The emotions was overwhelming each place lead me to another, there was no way I could get to every place or remember every person.  I decided to grab some lunch and make a plan.  So with my bacon double cheese burger from Five Guys, I planned out where to go next.  Not to go off topic but that burger was amazing!!

I spent some time in front of Salem Hospital.  This place has a few memories, both my kids were born here.  This also is the place I would spend 18 days a year ago getting my guts re-engineered.  It is because of the doctors and nurses that work in this place that I am still alive.  I gave thanks for them, I prayed for the hospital and the people in it.  I thanked God for my children!  I will never forget the two times I would go into a O.R. and come out with a child.  My kids are my life, I prayed God would give me wisdom to be the father they need and deserve.

I spent some time in a few other places and gave thanks for many people.  In total I stopped at about 20 places and allowed myself some grace to know it was not possible to go to every place.  In the end I would stop at Restlawn Cemetery where I placed roses on the graves of the family who have passed.  I thanked God for them, and that I would see them again.  This separation is only temporary.  I am happy I come from a long line of Christians.  My faith in part was learned from these people.


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