What-if on a Would-be Birthday

Feb 27, 2014

Both of us trying to figure it all out!

I rolled over and peeked through the shade. Still dark. The clock said 4:28 and I lay back down, sighing deeply. Thirty-four years ago, plus about two hours, my life had just been turned upside down. I became a mother. Spencer Timothy Macleod had burst upon the scene, with two quick pushes, almost leaping from the safety of the womb. And thus life changed forever. At this time, 4:30 a.m. 1980, I was still awake, electric with joy, awed by the perfect baby boy I held in my arms.

Spence would be thirty-four today, I thought as I turned towards the window.

“You alright?” My husband’s sleepy voice pulled me back from my thoughts.

“Just sad,” I said, and he put his arm over me and drew me close.

I started to think about the would-be’s in life, the places our minds go that sometimes are entertaining, sometimes bring sorrow and regret, and usually end in a futile wasteland of never-knows. I can’t say my mind has never thought of what kind of girl Spence would’ve married, what my grandchildren would’ve looked like, if he would-be a great builder, a great father, husband. Or maybe he would-be sick, or hurt or single or in one of those horrid places that every parent dreads thinking of. But he’s not, he’s in heaven, which I thanked God for today.

I also thought of how much blessing has been poured into my life, of my two sons here on earth, serving God, and how happy that would make Spence. In fact, it would be the best birthday present ever for him, because he worried about us all, his whole family and wanted us to just know Jesus.

I never work on Spencer’s birthday. It’s kind of a catch-22, because too much free time makes me want to lie down and quit like the prophet Elijah. But I have the kind of job where I need to think, and my brain is kind of listless on this day, like I’m searching for something but I can’t put my finger on what it is. So I’m baking bread.

“Arise and eat,” the angel spoke to Elijah, as he lay in a heap of depression, maybe some would-be’s thrown in there. I love this common-sense aspect of God’s character. Today I was reading the story about Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law, who was very sick with a fever. She was instantly made whole, and then “she got up and served them”. I thought about that. No one told her to stay in bed with a box of tissues and if you feel up to it, have some broth later. She was not a fever-survivor. She did not tell Jesus that she first needed a follow-up appointment with her PCP. No, she was healed, whole and I’m sure very grateful. So she forgot about herself and she served.

I’m making some real Irish brown soda bread so I can bring it to church tonight and divide it up among my friends that I went to Ireland with. And I bought two new bird feeders and filled everything up to overflowing because I love the birds, their simple lives and it’s a long winter this year. Even as I think about the poor birds, I can feel myself unwind because serving takes you out of self, which is wonderful today.

Oswald Chambers said:

“Depression is apt to turn us away from the ordinary commonplace things of God’s creation, but whenever God comes the inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things – the things we would never have imagined God was in, and as we do them we find He is there…Immediately we arise and obey, we enter on a higher plane of life.”

Like baking bread. And I might add on this higher plane there are no would-be’s, or should-have’s or if-only’s. Depression dissipates and a strange joy settles the storm deep within. When you are in God’s will, you are in the whole purpose of life, and like a child, you will gladly go where He leads. Arise and eat. Then serve. Jesus is right beside you, helping.