“Life is always at some turning point.” – Irwin Edman
As we approach yet another New Year, some people mistake crossing over one year to the next as an important shift – a turning point. However, if we look at it objectively, it’s just one more day. Chances are, your life will not undergo a huge paradigm shift between the 31st of December and January 1st. In fact, aside from maybe having acid re-flux from overeating, or perhaps a hangover for those of you who are a little bit more adventurous – your life will be pretty much the same come January 1st 2017. There probably won’t be any major turning point for you or I in that span of 24 hours.
So what is a turning point? According to Merriam-Webster, a turning point is “a point at which a significant change occurs.” Chances are, if you’ve lived past the age of toddlerhood, you’ve had at least one turning point in your life. As for myself, I am now past the age of 40, and a recent acquaintance of mine invited me to think about the most impactful turning points in my life. At first, I thought listing these major shifts would be an easy task. However, upon careful pondering, I came to the realization that I’ve been through quite a lot! I will list only three here for your sake.
The most important turning point in my life, came when I was nine years old. My father was always a fairly religious man and made it a point of bringing us to church every Sunday. I wasn’t very sociable as a kid, preferring to sit in the pew with my parents rather than going to my Sunday school class. So every Sunday, I would just sit with the adults and listen to the preacher. It has been said by many that God will meet you where you are. Well, on a particular Sunday, He did just that for me. To make a long story short; after an invitation from our pastor, I repented from my sins and gave my life to Jesus Christ. This is the most important turning point in my life, simply because my faith in God and the Scriptures has influenced every major decision in my life since. Interestingly, repentance in the Old Testament is from the Hebrew word shûb (pronounced shoove), which simply means to turn – to change direction. It is, literally, a turning point.
Another second major turning point in my life is my marriage to my wife, Elisabeth. This should come as no surprise since it has been said many times and by many people, that your wedding day is the most important day of your life. I can honestly say that my marriage to Elisabeth has had a profound impact on me. Those who know me best would concur. It changed me because, well, to borrow a quote from Jack Nicholson in the movie As Good As It Gets; she “makes me wanna be a better man.” We have been together fourteen years, and, through the good and the bad, I can honestly say I am a better man because of it. Nobody has challenged me as much as she has. And, because I love her, I want to rise up to meet those challenges. If a man loves a woman, this woman has the power to make or break him. Fortunately for me, I found a good woman.
For my final major turning point, I just cannot ignore my three children: Jason (6), Marissa (3) and Katelyn (1). The impact they’ve had on my life is huge. As a married man, you eventually come to the crossroad where you have to make a choice between having a life and having kids. Well, for reasons I don’t fully understand, I chose the latter (insert laughter here). It’s just amazing the growth spurts that come with becoming a father. Having kids will stretch you beyond what you ever thought possible. While being married will help a man develop a backbone, having kids will, more than anything, help him mature. Becoming a dad was a huge turning point for me for the simple reason that having little ones depending on me in everything strengthened my resolve to keep going and never let up. Perseverance and self-sacrifice come with the territory of being a parent; and with those, maturity.
So there you have it – some of my turning points. Turning points are a powerful force. Some can be positive, others negative, but the end result is usually the same: growth. The quicker we embrace them, the faster we grow. A wise friend of mine once told me: “Experiences are the benchmark of maturity.” Okay, it wasn’t really a friend, it was Rodimus Prime – a Transformer from my childhood. Nevertheless, he was right. Turning points are life’s stepping stones toward greater maturity. They have seasoned and forged me into who I am today. Just as they have garnished my past, they will spice up my future. Life moves pretty fast nowadays. Slow down, take deep breaths, and be mindful of those curves up ahead; because indeed, life is always at some turning point.
May you have a blessed New Year filled with positive turning points!