24, or Jon Foreman Always Knows How I Feel

If there’s one person in this world who knows how I am feeling, it’s Jon Foreman. I’m not saying right now, that we have some psychic emotional link where he can feel my emotions at any given time. That is ridiculous. (Or is it?) [It is.]

No, I mean that for however I’m feeling, there is a Switchfoot/Fiction Family/Solo EP song that covers it. It helps that Jon seems to write songs on meaningful days. Significant days. Like birthdays.

I had a birthday recently. Monday, in fact. I turned 24.

People at work kept asking me how old I was turning. I hope I never become that person who is ashamed of the years that she’s seen, but it still struck me as odd. When I answered, the person asking me nearly always scoffed at me with a tiny little laugh of derision or a bemused glance. Both spoke volumes; they said on the surface, “You’re so young,” and underneath, “I’m so insecure” or “I’m so old” or “I feel like so many years have gone by.”

I think it annoyed me, because I feel like those laughs and glances stole from me the validity of getting older. I should be allowed to feel the years pass. I’m allowed to feel old, because, as I mentioned to a few of them, this is the oldest I’ve ever been. And just that gives me the opportunity to stop and reflect, to not dismiss this age.

I am the oldest of most of my friends. I am the youngest in my office. And I am this age, right now.

Any milestone is significant for me. If I am ever a mother, I am going to be one who commemorates every little thing. I can’t help it! Dates and markers are how I measure time, places I can pause to look back and look forward all at once. I need those markers.

I am 24.

23 was significantly insignificant. Most of it was quiet. I stayed in the same job, the same apartment. I went to concerts, read books, saw plays. I watched a lot of television and movies. I went to the gym some, ran some. Ate a lot of ice cream and scones.

People shifted around me. I had a roommate come and go, celebrated her wedding to another friend. I celebrated the engagement of a friend.

And there were some big events. I saw new places. I went abroad and traveled by myself. I traveled with a friend. I lost a grandparent – one who had already been lost for many years.

This is what life is like, a whole lot of little things surrounding some big things. This year has flown by, and I’m not guaranteed any more. Do I feel like I have done all I can with what I have been given? Would God look at the log of my time and be pleased?

I don’t know. I don’t think so. Not fully. Good thing I don’t think he keeps a time-log, and his Grace is new every morning.

Three days after my birthday, a baby was born. I know and love his parents. 24 years ago, I was that baby, with the entire planet just waiting for me. And in some years, maybe I will be the parent, waiting to open up the entire planet for my child.

But right now I am 24. My world is ever changing, shifting in tiny ways. It is growing bigger and closing in smaller. I am seeing God and maybe at 24, I won’t be afraid to let him in. Not to be afraid, that is what 2011 is about. That is what 24 is about. I’m singing, Spirit, take me up in arms with you.

Take it away, Jon.

Twenty-four oceans

Twenty-four skies

Twenty-four failures

Twenty-four tries

Twenty-four finds me

In twenty-fourth place

Twenty-four drop-outs

At the end of the day

Life is not what I thought it was

Twenty-four hours ago

Still I’m singing, Spirit, take me up in arms with You

And I’m not who I thought I was twenty-four hours ago

Still I’m singing, Spirit, take me up in arms with You

Twenty-four reasons to admit that I’m wrong

With all my excuses still twenty-four strong

See, I’m not copping out, not copping out, not copping out

When You’re raising the dead in me

Oh, oh, I am the second man

Oh, oh, I am the second man now

Oh, oh, I am the second man now

And You’re raising these twenty-four voices

With twenty-four hearts

With all of my symphonies

In twenty-four parts

But I want to be one today

Centered and true

I’m singing, Spirit, take me up in arms with You

You’re raising the dead in me

Oh, oh, I am the second man

Oh, oh, I am the second man now

Oh, oh, I am the second man now

And You’re raising the dead in me

I want to see miracles, see the world change

Wrestle the angel, for more than a name

For more than a feeling

For more than a cause

I’m singing, Spirit, take me up in arms with You

And You’re raising the dead in me

-“Twenty-Four,” Switchfoot

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