An Epitaph to “If Only”

It has been said that Psalm 39 is the only Psalm that ends without a hopeful ending. I don’t know about that. I do know that most, if not all, of us experience times like that to one degree or another; times when hope must be taken as a reflex of faith rather than a matter of course. Times when we gaze at life and the lives of our friends and we hurt with the sadness of it all. And sometimes, there comes that especially trying blow — that one thing more to topple a too-rickety-resolve, leaving us crumpled at the gates of mercy, again in need of the Savior.

This is just such a time for me.

Today is my birthday and today I am sad.

Sad as unwanted children, now grown, can understand.

Dreams died when I was born and this day is dyed in the memory of it. I am thirty-six. It’s an anniversary really, when I think about it. Thirty-five epitaphs to “if only’s” and “why not’s.” Thirty-five memorials to stillborn hopes and youthful dreams. Thirty-five observances of “I wish you’d never been.”

I wish I could say that my faith and the force of an ever-gathering sanctification have finally, fully, defeated this old foe of mine. I wish. But I can’t.

Not yet. Not today.

Tomorrow I will rise and shake my head and heart and this melancholy; I’ll draw the breathe of another year and say (probably to myself and probably aloud), “Well. At least that’s over.”

But not yet. Not today.

Scold me another day. I’ll deserve it. I’ll even agree.

But not yet.

Today is my birthday and today I am sad.

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2 thoughts on “An Epitaph to “If Only”

  1. God was very kind to me today; He even sent the rain I love so well! I appreciate your prayers more than i can begin to say. Thank you, thank you! God blessed your prayers on my behalf.

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