Standing naked on my front porch

“A Gift…Only Borrowed” – By Kirk Spencer

While you can gain some comfort through your faith, you don’t always get answers to the questions you might be asking.  Sometimes the answers you receive may not fit neatly into what you wanted to hear.  Then again, maybe we are asking the wrong questions.

My other two children, whether they knew it or not, were tremendously helpful during that awful period when my youngest daughter was recovering from her heart surgery. Toddlers can have a strange and direct way of keeping you grounded.  Their needs are usually immediate and came in rather loud.  They can snap you back to reality quickly, usually just when you needed it.  And that was fine with me.  Their wants and needs helped keep me balanced just when I needed it most. When faced with a sick baby at a faraway hospital or “Daddy, I really want fishy crackers with my grilled cheese for lunch.”  

With the tremendous stress coming home every day from the hospital, I usually took the grilled cheese route.  It was much easier and considerably safer, but every bit as important.

I will never forget a conversation coming from the backseat of our car one evening a few years after Lindsay’s passing.  Shawn and Brooke, still very young themselves, were having an innocent discussion which I was trying to hear over the car radio.

Shawn, looking out the rear window and pointing toward the moon, said, “Look, Brooke, see the moon?  That’s where Lindsay lives.”  Through the review mirror, I watched my six-year-old daughter simply nod in agreement. 

I guess death can be an exceedingly difficult concept for little ones to understand – probably most adults as well.  I would never minimize the pain and suffering of losing a child way too soon, I’ve been there.  But maybe we overthink it sometimes. What if my son had it right and death is a little simpler than we make it. 

If you ever find yourself missing a loved one who left before you, occasionally take a glance toward the moon.  It might bring you some comfort, and if you wait a bit, maybe even a small smile to your heart.  You can rest easy.  They are being taken care of well

Writing a personal book can be challenging and even painful at times.  Publishing that book requires a huge commitment and the realization that now, everyone will know that personal story.  While you can read it over and over again, you continually find mistakes:  better ways to phrase a sentence, organize your thoughts clearer, seek better synonyms, and find punctuation errors…but at some point, you just have to let your story go out into the world.  Much like letting one of your children leave home and hoping they will turn out as you imagined. 

I have likened the process of writing and publishing a book to, “Standing on your front porch naked and hoping the neighbors don’t laugh as they drive by.” 

Think about it, every flaw, every scar, every mistake, and every defect will be shared with everyone you know, and everyone you don’t. Yeah, that naked!

But share it you must.  Your story must be told and you can only hope it strikes home with others.  So, don’t be afraid to shed your clothes and allow yourself to be seen naked on your front porch. Not everyone will laugh.  Some will just smile with a caring heart and let you know your story is safe. 

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I've been married for 40 years with 3 children and 7 grandchildren. I spent my 45 year career in the grocery retailing industry, from bagging groceries to president of a customer dedicated national food brokerage company. I enjoy golfing, cooking, writing, all kinds of music, and more importantly watching my grandchildren thrive, especially in education and sports.

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