When I took pictures for son Luke’s baby book I thought I was making a book of memories for me. The memories fell short. Time flew past relentlessly—as time does. My purse got snatched. The camera was in it. Work on the baby book ended. As a single parent, there was never enough extra money to buy another camera. Luke loved his baby book. He never got tired of looking through the pages and reading the things I had written to him and about him. When he left for heaven seven years ago—the baby book lived at his house. I wish I had known how important it was to my son. I would have found a way to take more pictures and made time to write more memories. I wish I had known.
When Luke called in early November 2013, and asked if I could join him for Christmas, I wish I had said “yes” immediately. Instead, I hesitated. I was in Scotland. He was in North Carolina. I would be leaving a husband and a dog behind. Even over the phone and in spite of all the miles that separated us—I could feel the hurt my non-answer caused. I wish I had known that he would leave this earth for heaven just a few weeks later. My immediate “yes” would have blessed us both, even though Luke didn’t have Christmas on earth that year. I wish I had known.
When I called Luke on Saturday, November 26, 2013, and got his voice mail saying he would be out of town the next day—I wish I had called back. His plane went down the next day and he flew out of my reach and straight into the arms of Jesus. I wish I had known.
My “wish I had knowns” list is long. I wish I had known how important spelling was when I was in school. Computers have spell checks—but my spelling is sometimes so whacky that the spell check goes, “Huh?” Then I hold the torn cover and loose pages of my dictionary and thumb through the letter section for the word I want because it is simply the best word and the only word that will work. Writers are like that. We wrap words and phrases around us, spin them into an inky cocoon, and live inside them. You may have guessed. I misspelled “cocoon,” but it was close enough that the spell checker managed. The frustrating thing about looking up a word in my fragmented dictionary is that if I don’t get the first two letters right—I must go word by word, page by page, until I find it. And on rare occasions, it doesn’t even start with the letter I thought it did. I wish I had known how important spelling was when I was younger.
A “wish I had known” list is long, sometimes poignant (Wow! Got that one right) and sometimes funny. Probably everyone on planet earth has a different list. But that’s okay, because God fills in the gaps. He knows. He always knows.
“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path…I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139.