A few mornings ago, I was jogging with my dog Edmund on a nearby path that runs just above and alongside a creek. I happened to notice a young man sitting on a big rock by the water, reading a book.
As I got closer, I saw that it was my son, Noah. My heart instantly lit. Spontaneous joy, you know? Recently Noah got a dog, Lucy, so I figured their morning walk had brought them here.
What a perfect thing to happen. In a flash I already saw us smiling with surprise, hugging each other, and remarking at the weather, all in a way of trying to say to each other, Isn’t life good? Aren’t we glad to be us, right here, right now, this morning?
I was about to call out his name, since his back was to me, the pages of his book lit from the sun behind us—when I suddenly realized it wasn’t him. It wasn’t my Noah. It was some other young man with remarkably similar build and coloring.
I jogged on past, disappointed but grateful I hadn’t called out too soon to the wrong son. Because he was someone else’s son, right? I thought about that for a while, how likely it is that some other woman would have been so delighted to come upon her boy like that.
It took me another half mile to realize that if I wanted, I could be just as happy to have spotted this young man as I would have had it really been Noah. And in some strange way, maybe I even owed it to his mother to rejoice at her son’s existence.
It hit me then that in a very true sense, my son and her son are the same son to God. Uniquely special, but equally precious expressions of God’s grace in the world, born of the same God-breathed desire.
So I chose to let a wave of joy wash over me. And I thanked God for the young man reading his book, because think about what that means. It means he’s not in jail. It means he’s not horribly hung over. It means he’s not using an assault rifle to shoot up a school.
It means he’s giving a random jogger a reason to celebrate sons who bless the world.
Speaking of celebrating, today is Noah’s 32nd birthday. Dave and I already had a small party with him on Saturday. But last night, Noah’s dad,Tom, flew in from California to spend Noah’s birthday with him, just the two of them. Which I’m pretty sure has never happened before.
Which means Noah woke up this morning and remembered with a happy start that his dad was sleeping somewhere nearby on a blow up bed.
So this is what I’m thinking about and feeling sort of dizzily grateful for today. That some mom’s son turned out to be the kind of young man who’d sit by a creek and read a book. And that my son’s dad gets to spend the entire day with the baby we made at 18—now grown into an amazing young man.
Given how happy this makes me for Tom, it might as well be me.
Except I’ll pass on the blow up bed.