Through the open window I feel the cool air of the small hours of the morning on my face as I lie on a soft bed with a warm wife.  I hear the sound of a car on the bypass about a mile away and I wonder if the driver is still up or if he is already up.  I am imagining myself in his place.

Through the open window I feel the cool air of the small hours of the morning on my face as I lie on a soft bed with a warm wife.  I hear the sound of a car on the bypass about a mile away and I wonder if the driver is still up or if he is already up.  I am imagining myself in his place.

I’ve done my imaging in the other direction too.  I’ve been in my car alone in the darkness--either on my way out or on my way back--imagining the warmth of the bed I’ve left behind or the warmth of the bed to which I am headed.  The latter is more dangerous as one can imagine oneself into a permanent warm bed with six feet of dirt as your covers.

But as I lie there, I say a prayer for the soul whose on a journey and roll over to try to get a few more hours of sleep before the alarm goes off.

We are all on a journey.  I almost went back and rewrote that as “Each of us is on a journey” and that would’ve been true too, but I will let it stand, because ultimately we are all in this together.  Nobody makes it on his own.  Our mother pushes us out of her womb, and before that she and our father had to cooperate for her egg to meet his sperm so that we could come into being.  We are created by flesh united in love.  We are born of water as we are pushed forth and spirit as we breath our first breath.

I am continually astounded by how closely Genesis parallels the process of birth.  Adam and Eve are in Paradise, they are expelled, and there is no going back.

Mankind is on a journey. We are a breed of hairless chimpanzees and we spend our days pecking away on computers and driving trucks and swinging sledgehammers.  Nature did not prepare us for this; God did not design us for this: I am a fallen creature who is living in a world that is cursed on my account.  But I keep moving on, looking for something that fits and all the while I know that the clock is ticking.

I turn 49 this month. That is seven times seven, the perfect square of a prime number. Jacob worked for seven years for Leah and then seven for Rachel. So seven times seven is surely special. That sounds so much better than one year shy of 50.

As hard as it is for my kids to believe, being young was a huge part of my self-image for a very long time.  I was the youngest kid in my class at school until Robyn Philips moved to town in high school.  I was 17 when I started college. I was 20 years old when I started grad school. I look at 50 and realize that, while 50 isn’t old, I can’t be 50 and think of myself as young anymore. Then I laugh and realize I can’t think that at 49 either.

I am on a journey and have been on it a long time without thinking much where that journey winds up.  But I am getting towards that magic number and so I’m thinking about it.  I’ve been told that it’s a dangerous age; it’s a portion of the journey that is pot-holed with young blonds and little red sports cars.  Fortunately nature has inoculated me against these perils by making me not too good-looking and not too rich.
Thank God.

Perhaps the end of the journey is foreshadowed by lying in bed in the small hours, by the warm wife--bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh--and listening to others midway on their journey, praying for their safety as I drift off to sleep.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University.