What If…

Do you know anyone who seems to be living a “what if” life? What if this horrible thing happens–or something even worse? How can he or she ever deal with it?

That doesn’t sound like a desirable way to live, does it?

A certain amount of “what if-ing” is probably normal, however. Maybe even desirable.

If we don’t say, “What if I come down with a serious illness?” we might not make sure we have medical insurance, get regular checkups, eat healthy foods, and get the right amount of sleep and exercise.

If we don’t say, “What if I lose my job–or some major expense comes up?” we might fail to set aside money to build an adequate emergency fund.

If we don’t say, “What if the cat knocks the lighted candle over while I’m out and burns the house down,” we might not bother to blow out the flame before we leave.

“What if-ing” that leads us to do smart things makes sense. The same goes for avoiding things that might be dangerous or harmful.

But what about folks who’re burdened by phobias of different kinds? Aren’t they victims of a different kind of “what if”?

If fear of flying makes a person travel an unnecessarily long distance by car or train when a fairly short flight would be more practical, isn’t he a “what if” victim?

And what about victims of agoraphobia–a fear of being in a public place? Their “what ifs” keep them from going out and enjoying much of life.

During early childhood, I apparently had a frightening experience while taking swimming lessons. I’ve suppressed that memory for more than sixty years–so deeply I have no idea what happened. My “what if” about being in the water made me put off being baptized for a number of years because I was so terrified of “what if.”

Those “what ifs”–and dozens of similar ones–seem pretty irrational, don’t they? But they’re real to the sufferer. And, ironically, living in fear of the “what if” may actually make someone more miserable than anything that might happen as the result of doing what the sufferer is so frightened of.

Too often, people don’t take the important “what ifs” of life seriously enough. If they did, no one would drink and drive. No one would die of a tobacco-related disease. No one would commit crime to support a drug habit–or die of an overdose. Accidents that aren’t really accidental would decrease.

No one would ever “need” to have an abortion.

And people who reject Christianity would give it a serious second thought.

Your comments are welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,

Links you might be interested in:


The What Ifs of Life

I got a phone call  one afternoon recently that started me thinking about the “what ifs of life.”

What if my birth parents had chosen to keep me? How drastically different would my life be now?

And what if someone other than the couple who adopted me had become my adoptive parents. And what if my father had remained a lawyer rather than going to seminary and becoming a Christian minister?

What if I’d died or survived only in a vegetative state as the result of acute viral encephalitis when I was in the eighth grade?

What if I’d majored in music instead of English? Would I be a better song writer–or a less accomplished one? Would I still have become a teacher? Would I have remained in teaching rather than changing careers twice, always looking for the more-fulfilling job rather than necessarily the better paying one.

What if I’d married the first girl I thought I wanted to marry? What if I hadn’t met and married my ex-wife? What if our baby hadn’t died of an improperly developed heart three days after she was born? What if my ex- had been able to get pregnant again after microsurgery at Johns Hopkins?

And what if we’d never moved to Richmond? That question alone opens up a bottomless can of what ifs.

What if I’d never started writing songs, poems, monologues and short plays, and short stories? Would I have found equal satisfaction being creative some other way?

And what if I’d met Kathleen at a different time in our lives?

But let’s bring this up to the present time. The present is the result not of the what-ifs, but of the said-and-dones.

That doesn’t keep me from what iffing, though. What if an irritating problem hadn’t led me to the doctor recently, and what if he hadn’t decided to do some tests to determine whether I’m still reasonably healthy at going-on-sixty-nine?

And what if the PSA hadn’t been elevated enough for him to recommend going to see my urologist? What if the problem had turned out to be serious?

I’ve always said it’s better to know that something bad is going on than to have to wonder about it. But even more important is the realization–the assurance–that my life is totally in God’s hands. He can deal appropriately with all of those things I can only ponder.

What about you? Do you have any significant what-ifs going on in your life right now? Why not just turn them over to God? Please feel free to share a comment.


I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Best regards,