The phone rang, probably for the hundredth time that day and another hundred calls have come in since. But this call was different. After hanging up I was left with a big "what if...". You know those weird rare calls that make you stop short a minute and think and think, attempt to shake it off and then think some more. The kind of information that isn't reliable in any one direction or another. Not facts, but possibilities: not even probabilities but enough to occupy the "What if..." imagination. This kind of caller never gives too many details or absolutes, so you are left protecting your hopes...trying to maintain them right where they were, not letting them rise and not letting them fall. I found myself anxiously telling my insides..."Every emotion just stop a minute. I don't know anything yet. Every thought and feeling in my head right now, "just lock in and don't move" we need to wait to respond." Most of the responders obeyed. The stubborn one is the imagination . Defiant is more like it. As much as I try to control that part, its no use. Trying to control the imagination and keep it rational is like calling a toddler who has just learned to run. You are trying so hard to kindly call to them and get them to stop and come back to you, usually in some huge expanse like the grocery store or the mall. And like that baby with the flinstone feet and a squeal of delight, the imagination wants to stay just out of reach; staying free to run with the next whim.
So that is who has been working overtime in my brain. The imagination. Every other part is behaving for now.
"What if..." It doesn't take long for a "What if..." to become an "if, then". You know... If this is so, then what will we do differently? What has to change? What can stay the same? What will be better, what may get harder? Who will take charge of that and this while I'm busy? Who is willing and available to take some of the shifting around of responsibility this may cause? Does this "What if" question have a hotline I can call? "Hello, yes I'm needing a little advice. um hm , Well, it was one of those 'what if' calls . Yes, exactly. No we don't know anything more, which is why I am calling. What can I do during the 'what if ' stage? No, the feelings and thoughts are locked in to normal for now, it's just the imagination...Oh, really...normal huh, ok. Anything I can take for it? Over the counter or otherwise? No, huh. Any idea how long it will last? Oh, well of course, until the next call, right. The call with more information or confirmation. Ok then, thanks" No help there. Except to be deemed normal that the imagination is working overtime in a "What if" of this kind.
So for just a minute then..."imagination, go ahead" "If so, then what?" How would I do? What would I do? Who would I tell? How would I tell them? Will they cry when I tell them? Will I cry when I tell them or be strong to give them the confidence I am hoping I would have? Would I continue to work? Would I change everything or try to carry on pretending everything is normal? Will there be a new normal? Will the new normal be permanent or temporary? Will the new normal be better in quality, focusing only the most important things of all? hmm. There it is. The truth about what has crossed my mind. If "what if" became so, and in the extreme possibility it meant days were numbered...what would I do about the number left?
Amazingly I can't stop smiling about the possibility of such freedom. I mean I would do some things very differently. I would fearlessly move to taking every opportunity to tell anyone who would listen the most important things I have learned. I would tell a listening ear about all the time I wasted worrying about what so-and-so thinks about me. I would tell them there is only One whose nod of approval is worth thinking about. I would speak as if testifying as a witness in court to the truth of what I have experienced with my God, my savior. With my hand on the Bible, I would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That it took me too long to realize it, but I have found that He is more than enough to live for and He thinks we are more than enough to die for. I would raise my hands more to praise Him and fall to my knees more to worship him. I would let people think I am crazy because I am talking out loud again or still, to a God they cannot see, but has become visible to me in most everything. I want just one chance on a mountain with everyone paying attention to say that He is so faithful, so loving and so worth whatever it costs to follow Him. That the joy on this earth is to get even a glimpse of His heart and have a chance to be His hands and feet for someone else. Oh, the freedom of it. The freedom of thinking my days might be numbered. It seems like life would be so much easier, more honest, a more authentic way to really live this part before eternity.
And so I keep smiling. Smiling at the possibility of such freedom. "Silly girl. You're days are numbered!" Maybe there will be less than I was planning, maybe more. The next phone call will help determine. Can I make the decision to be free to praise, worship, love and serve Him regardless? I pray so. I wait for no other reward than to hear the "Well done, good and faithful..." when the last day ends and the real living begins.....The imagination. The part I've been trying to get to just sit down and be patient. Not such a terrible distraction after all. "What if..." I think it'll be just fine; and that's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
Two decades later
12 hours ago