42

What’s it like being the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today is my special day as today, I have turned 42, which we all know is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Something I was thinking about last night was Chesterton’s idea that each of us is a great, “Might-not-have-been.” The odds of my being here as I am and your being here are infinitesimal, but yet here you are and here I am. Each of you being here is someone who is extremely unlikely.

Oddly though, had I never been at the same time, I would not have been missed. Now yes, I do realize parents miss children that they miscarry, but there is still something different as you have no idea for sure how the child would have turned out. No one around us knows how they would have either. This world could have had several people in it that never got the chance to be through whatever means.

I can’t help but think about abortion at this. Our world could be vastly different today had we not killed millions of people before they got to live outside the womb. Now I realize some could say we could have had another Hitler, but we could also have had someone who cured cancer. We don’t know.

The evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould once said if you rewound the clock and started it up again, reality would not come out the same way. Unless you’re a strong determinist in theism, the same is true for us. Even with a God overseeing everything, many of us still believe in free-will and how matters could have been much more different.

I cannot speculate on the unknown like this. It could be interesting at times, but I would prefer to speculate on the known. I am here. That means that everything I have been through, I have survived, be it major back surgery, depression and panic attacks, and a super-painful divorce. I have gone through it all and I’m still kicking. Right now, I’m doing that so much that I’m at seminary living out my dream.

It was also a gift to see how matters went for me today. I don’t publicize my birthday on campus and I wondered if anyone would know. I opened my door and my first thought was that there was a spill of some sort and a stream of water falling out my door, but it wasn’t a stream of water. It was gold streamers. There was a gift card and a set of mini-cupcakes and my door area was thoroughly decorated. The names on a card were my RA and her husband.

All around campus, many people have been wishing me a happy birthday. It’s been something incredible to me. It tells me more and more that I do belong here. I am surrounded by people who actually notice me and care about me. I’m not saying no one else has, but I have only been here a little over a month and already I have found a place that I can fit in. It’s an academic environment, one that I thrive in.

Tonight, when I rest, I hope I will do so a year wiser and a year more mature. Well, the more mature part might be hard. Anyway, I also hope I go to bed thankful, thankful that through it all, I was allowed to be and realize that my life is a gift.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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