It snowed in Estes Park last night.
What if it never stops?
Do you ever get the what-ifs? You know what I'm talking about? Those nagging little -- and sometimes not so little -- negative thoughts that bombard you out of nowhere.
What if someone rummages through my trash, finds that one piece of mail I forgot to shred and steals my identity?
What if I get lung cancer from the secondhand smoke I inhaled 30 years ago?
What if my mother-in-law refuses to come for Thanksgiving dinner? Actually, that could be a positive thought. (Oh come on, I'm just kidding.)
The what-ifs come at you like a bulldog going after his favorite bone. And often the canine decides to dig for his skeletal treat in the middle of the night. So then you've got the what-if-this-what-iffing-keeps-me-from-ever-going-to-sleep what-if. Quite a conundrum.
This whole what-if thing started yesterday when I met my good friend and writer pal Dena (she blogs at GodnMe) at Starbucks. We got to talking about life: parenting, marriage, aging and widowhood. Now widowhood is a subject I'm deeply familiar with, having lost my first husband 3 1/2 years ago to a massive heart attack. I didn't really think I'd marry again, but then I met Dennis. (Love has a funny way of changing your mind.) He's eleven years older than me and that's where the what-ifs come in. Statistically, wives outlive their husbands. I've already played the statistics game and lost. What if it happens again? Ouch.
I know from experience, that left unchecked the what-ifs can mushroom into full-fledged worry. Apparently a lot of people struggle with worry, judging by the popularity of the Worry is a Robber devotional I wrote on my Mountain Manna website. I'll wager their worry started with a what-if.
So what's my point? Just this. God's given me another wonderful partner in Dennis. Every time I indulge in the what-if something happens to him what-if, I miss the joy of being with my beloved husband right here, right now. But what if I don't what-if? More Joyful Altitude.
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
Matthew 6:34 (The Message)