Friday, December 27, 2013

52 Years, 52 Times - A Birthday Soliloquy

Today is my 52 birthday. 52 years. Last night I went to bed early, but I stayed awake doing numbers, dates and events in my head. I may be the only person in the world who does this type of thing, but its a fun form of mental exercise.

I went back 52 years, 52 times.

Starting with this year, 2013, I went back 52 years to 1961 and thought of the inauguration of the President John F. Kennedy, the youngest man to have been elected President of the United States at that time. I went back another 52 years to 1909, two years before the birth of my maternal grandfather, and thought about Oklahoma being a state for only two years, and how in 1909 Guthrie was the state's capital (not Oklahoma City). It was also the first year three people flew in an airplane at the same time. We've come a long way in a little over a century.

The third 52 years took me to the year 1857, four years before the Civil War. My great-great-grandfather, Dr. Frederick Tinsley Donne Cherry--then a teenager--moved with his family from Rochester, New York to just north of Nashville, Tennessee. It was a fateful move because he would later be drafted into the Confederate States Army of Tennessee, be captured during the Civil War, and spend a terrible year in the notorious Rock Island Prison. Later he would enter the University of Nashville Medical School (now Vanderbilt) and become a medical doctor.

The fourth 52 years took me to 1805 and the most important year for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the greatest adventure in the history of the American frontier. The story of Lewis and Clark is one of the most overlooked narratives of American history. The expedition had direct impact on Oklahoma. Back another 52 years (the fifth) took me to the year 1753, George Washington was a mere 22 years old and the American colonies had not yet considered independence from England.

I kept going! On the occasions I became stuck thinking about an event for that 52nd year, I pulled out my handy Samsung Note 3 and typed in the year and "Presto" - I had a major event pop-up with which I was familiar. It was fun - going back in history to specific dates, separated by 52 years.

52 years, 52 times - that takes you back 2704 years. Frankly, counting something fifty-four times goes fast, and by the time I fell asleep, I had gone back in time to 691 BC. The northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen to the Assyrians. The southern kingdom of Judah, with headquarters in Jerusalem, had stopped the Assyrian advancement. 691 BC was over fifty years before the birth of the prophet Daniel.

Working from the other end of  the 52 times back and moving forward you have the year 639 BC when "good king" Josiah led the southern kingdom of Judah into a time of revival. 52 more years forward brings one to the year 587 BC when Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar and the rest of the Jews were led into what was called the Babylonian captivity. 52 years later, in 535 BC Cyrus the Great rule the world as king over the Persian Empire, having defeated the Babylonian Empire. Cyrus would be quite influential in helping the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem, and the Temple.

As I targeted specific dates 52 years apart, I went through the rise of the Grecian Empire and Alexander the Great, the rise of the Roman Empire, and finally to the times of Christ. At 15 BC, 39 times 52 years way from 2013, Augustus Caesar ruled the known world. God was preparing the world for the Messiah's birth which would occur a decade later. The next 52 year interval took me to AD 37, to the time when the former Pharisee called Saul of Tarsus had been radically changed by the risen Messiah and was now being disciple in the Christian faith in preparation for his first of three missionary journeys.

Oh well, my wife is tapping me on my shoulder reminding me we need to be off to see our grandson today in the city! I must stop this soliloquy.  By definition it is written only for me.  Thank you Lord, for orchestrating the events of this world, overcoming the evil of mankind and directly intervening with Your grace in my life.


Philip Miller said...

Brings to mind Psalms 107, especially verse 43 as it sums it all up.

Wade Burleson said...


Very appropriate.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I am so sorry I missed saying this yesterday as I was out much of the time. Happiest of Birthdays. My family and I are so blessed to have known you and your family for so many years.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Deb! :)