Forty. I woke up this morning, greeted by the reminder of what today is. While I know its significance--my 40th birthday--I don't feel that it should be different from any other day. On a day like today, however, one can 't help but to consider the number 40; and for me, I could not help but to look at it in terms of literature. One thought was that Ali Baba had forty thieves. As amazing as that sounds, always looking over your shoulders because you have forty dirty-rotten scoundrels hanging around, any one of which could slit your throat as easily as he could pat you on the back, is probably not a good thing. Just going out on a limb there.
My thoughts turned to the Bible, where I know of several examples. Consider this:
- It rained for forty days and forty nights in the great flood.
- Moses was on the mountain for forty days to receive the law.
- The spies were in Canaan for forty days prior to the Hebrews rejecting the Promised Land, which lead to...
- A forty year sentence of wandering in the desert because they rejected God's promise.
- Through Jonah, God gave Nineveh forty days to repent before He would destroy them.
- By the Spirit of God, Jesus was lead into the desert for a forty-day fast, after which he was tempted.
When you look at the number 40 in that light, most occurrences were not positive. However, in further researching the significance of "40" in the Bible, I also found this little nugget on Wiki:
"A 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is ALWAYS a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement (but not judgment) and ends with a period of restoration, revival, or renewal."
Restoration, revival or renewal. I like that.
As for me, I'm not walking around, acting morose. Maybe it's because I still have goals to accomplish. I felt this way about my 30th birthday, too. At that time, I had just passed the CPA exam and was on course to earning my license. So turning thirty didn't bother me. This year, I have already been published, with more stories sent for submission, and I feel the road ahead is brighter than ever. So why be glib about something like a 40th birthday?
Besides, forty sounds a whole lot better than fifty.