The calendar on the wall in our kitchen is a picture of a sunny porch with pumpkins, chrysanthemums and some red and orange leaves. It says “October” across the bottom of it. I’ve been looking at it every morning but it just doesn’t register that it’s “October”. All our usual markers are gone. There are no changing leaves, each day is exactly the same length as the day before, the weather has gotten more rainy as it has become the “wet season” but it can be hot. There is no Halloween candy in the stores or costumes in the windows. Nothing from our lifetime experiences of autumn to indicate the season or the month of October. Except for one thing, Randy’s birthday! We could have easily forgotten it but it was a big one–60!
Living in a country where the average life expectancy is about 58 for a man and 61 for a woman (up from 41 years average in 1960) one is very aware of the gift of health, life and growing in age. Only about 3% of the population of Burundi is 65 and over, as compared to the U.S. which has about 12.5% of its population in that range. Needless to say, there is a great deal of respect and honor given to those who are older. While Randy is not big on celebrating his birthday usually it seemed very appropriate to honor him by giving him what he really needed (no, not a facelift!) rather a respite.
We heard of a nice place just a short distance from Bujumbura right on Lake Tanganyika. So for a 24 hour period Randy was able to relax, read, look at the calm water and changing scenery of the clouds and sky without answering a continuous parade of questions from students anxious to discuss their particular problem with the “dean of medicine”. It was a perfect place to reflect on the many years God has blessed Randy with good health, wonderful abilities and varied experiences . I’m fairly sure if anyone had asked him at age 30,40 or 50, “where do you think you’ll spend your 60th birthday?” he would not have said Blue Bay in Burundi. Oh the surprises the Lord gives us in our lives! Can’t wait to see where 70 will be???