In 1979 I gave birth to our second-born son on the living room couch in a hippie-like gathering of midwife, nude laboring woman, husband, firstborn son, and people knocking at the front door. That was probably way more information than you wanted (or that he wanted shared), and I promise not to show pictures.

I can still hear the whir of the window air conditioner and feel the relaxed vibe in the house as I ate peaches, rested, and labored barefoot in the comfort of my own home. The sun beamed through the western windows as our son was born. His toddler big brother kissed his head, and we marveled at his beauty and strength.

How did thirty-five years fly by? We were young, and now we are old. He was an infant, and now he is a grown man. Today is his birthday. How were we so brave? Life was fresh, and tragedies had been rare. Our mistakes hadn’t accumulated. Fear wasn’t a constant companion then.

Now I feel tired, jaded, and worn out. The starch has been knocked out of the idealist. In practically every area, I’ve gone against the flow, swimming upstream against the cultural current for year after year after year.

I am weary.

Brown bear and salmon Ken Bondy via Compfight

Why did we have to be revolutionaries? Why did we have to rock the boat on everything? Why did we think we could change the world? Why were we such crusaders, such sticklers, such dreamers?

Because this is who we are. We are unique. So are you.

We tried to stay true to ourselves.

But I have hit the wall now. My fatigue is chronic. My heart has been broken by the goats, the tares, the mundane, and the nominal. I feel as if I’ve battered myself bloody against the rigid sameness, the naysayers, the hardhearted, and the ordinary.

We are not made to live “normal” lives. None of us are. We belong to the God of the universe. We must go against the flow. We must submit every decision to his leading. We must stand against the norm, the discrimination, the brokenness, and the injustice.

Rock Band drum kit movement Adam Foster via Compfight

And when we do, most people will not understand us. They don’t hear the beat of the drummer who taps out our cadence. This is what we must abandon: the need to have others understand God’s call and pull on our individual lives. They won’t.

I walk to my beat. You walk to yours. Jesus creates and gifts us all uniquely, and he pounds out the rhythm for each of us. Your cadence differs from mine, and mine from yours.

As I draw near to Jesus, attempting to recover and to regain my strength, this is the main thing: Only his opinion matters. When I’ve done my best, when I’ve confessed my faults, when I’ve turned from my sinful ways and embraced my brokenness, when I’ve attempted to follow in his path, and when I’ve pursued the dreams he has given, all I can do is to let it go, trusting it all to him. This is the life lesson.

He will weigh it. He will measure it. I will stand before the God who knows me better than I know myself. He saw me break myself against the rocks. He saw the whys.

The Lord’s opinion is the only one that matters.