Today, I turn a zero. I have have seen five zeros in my life and science says I might have two, three or four more zeros before meeting my end and seeing Jesus face-to-face.
So, I turn 50. Zeros call people to look at their lives. Early zeros like 10 and 20, make us think of future. Late zeros like 50, 60, 70 makes us take stock of our lives. The tyranny of zeros, or having been created with 10 fingers, has me looking at what the whole of live is about. Some of those I knew from kindergarden are now grandparents. I have a young son and a loving wife. My life has gone through some dispensations, some of which seem normal: child, teenagers, young adult, middle ages. But, there’s also the strong flavors of going to UTEP, then living in Vail, Colo., then going University of New Mexico, and then back to Vail and then going to Fuller Seminary, to marriage and living in Spokane. The flow of life seems different within the currents of immediacy than grinding of memory with the ever present danger of nostalgia. In our youth culture, I know my opinions might be suddenly dismissed with a curt, “old fogey” or out of touch, or in other words, my very age can invalidate my thought.
Zeros can be unkind and even brutal. Zeros are the boundaries of how others group us. I have entered into when the slide has increased its speed toward the bottom, the mind still gives to the truth of all life. Only love saves us. The scales of looking for external success has loosened, love keeps making the whole of my life filled with divine sparks. Love, I know it is true. More zeros will come, and my call to love will not be hindered. For love saves us. Birthdays are to remember, God gives the gift of a baby. After five zeros, I can say that the whole of my life has been a gift.
Art, says Ernesto Tinajero, comes from the border of what has come before and what is coming next. Tinajero uses his experience studying poetry and theology to write about the intersecting borders of art, poetry and religion.