It seems odd to me that Michael Jordan is turning 50 this weekend. I am not sure if that is because I thought he was older or younger. I remember the Bulls winning their 6 championships with him. I remember his retirement from basketball to play baseball, and then his return. I fondly remember going to school many times after the Bulls played the Knicks and joking with friends about how Jordan had scored so many points against the Knicks. I also remember his failed attempts at playing with the Washington Wizards.
But it also seems odd to me that such a fuss is being made this weekend about his turning 50.
I am not sure how Michael Jordan is celebrating his 50th birthday this weekend. I do not know if he is having cake and ice cream, or if he is going to a steakhouse, or maybe he is out playing golf. He might even be in Houston for the NBA All-Star Game.
Wherever he is and whatever he is doing, I wonder what is going through his mind when he blows out the candles on the birthday cake?
Because I know what is going through the minds of the media as they are celebrating his birthday with special articles in magazines or with marathons of his greatest games on TV or even with a package of hi-lights from his career.
Perhaps that is the great trap of being a celebrity: your birthday is about what you have done, not what you are going to do in the years to come.
None of my birthdays were featured in magazines, although they were mentioned in church bulletins. Nor were any of my birthdays spent watching some hi-light packages of my greatest moments, mostly because there are no home movies of me.
Granted there were tales retold of the day I was born, maybe a funny story or two about something I did in the past. But most of the event was future focused. What lies ahead in the next year?
As Michael Jordan sits for interviews and is presented with gifts, all of which recount his past events, I feel sorry for him. It seems his birthday and his obituary are being written at the same time.
His birthday, like all of our birthdays, are a time to look ahead to what God has in store for us in the coming year, not looking backward and assuming that our lives are complete, even if there are many more birthdays yet to come.
So Happy Birthday Michael Jordan! I hope the coming years are full of hope and promise, and that you can focus on the gifts that God still has in store for you, as opposed to just reminiscing about the ones you already received.