One Day

“Birth date?”

The lady behind the desk has asked the question a thousand and more times before.  This query is just one of the identifiers the clinic uses to ensure they are treating the right patient.

That’s funny.  I’ve also answered the question a thousand times before in my life (give or take a few hundred).  The answer is on the tip of my tongue.

The tip of my tongue.

I hesitate.

“Do you not know your own birth date?”  She is incredulous. 

Everyone knows his own birth date.  Five year old kids know their own birth date. (I’m four and two-thirds years old!)

“No. No, I know my birth date.  It’s just that I’m not sure you have it right in your records.”

Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?  Yeah, it feels stupid, too.  But, here’s my problem: I’m not sure what day I was born.

What’s that?  Check my birth certificate?  Now, you’ve put your finger on the issue.  The date on my birth certificate is wrong.

How do I know it’s wrong?  My mother said it was.  Incidentally, so did my father, but when Mom says it, you know she’s right. 

All my life, I’ve celebrated my birthday on a certain day.  All my life.  Fifty-whatever years.  Every legal paper I’ve ever filed has had that date on it.  My school records, medical records, driving records, financial records, all claim the same date. 

The lady is waiting.  Not patiently.  I suppose most of the folks reading this are feeling the same way.  Not to worry.  I’m going to tie all this up directly. 

I give the lady the same answer I’ve been giving for fifty-something years, and she is satisfied, telling me to take a seat in the waiting room with all the other sick people.  It will be a while before the doctor will actually see me.

Two birth dates.  Who has that?  What kind of mixed up world is it when a guy doesn’t know what day he was born?

My parents tell me one date, the ceremonial birth certificate from the hospital being in agreement, and birthday celebrations are set for a lifetime. 

Then one day, a fewbirthcertificate years into my adult life, the legal birth certificate–the one on file with the great State of Texas–arrives.

The phone call to my parents followed pretty quickly.  “June fifteenth?  The fifteenth?  Not the sixteenth?”

They insist the doctor or nurse must have recorded it wrong.  They both maintain that I was born on Father’s Day the year I arrived.  I’ve checked.  Father’s Day was on the sixteenth that year.  They won’t budge in their insistence.

You want me to choose? 

Well, as much as I love the great State of Texas, I’ll take my Mama any day.  The doctor recorded it wrong.  (My Mama didn’t raise any dummies.)

Still, I wonder if the day will come when someone calls my bluff and demands to see proof of my birth date. 

I sit for a moment and my mind wanders.  So, I’m not quite sure of the date on which I was born.  What am I sure of?

I’m pretty sure I was born; that seems to be a certainty. 

I’m sure the red-headed lady who raised me is really my mother.  Even if the (flawed) birth certificate didn’t proclaim it, the signs are all there.  Physical features which can’t be hidden. Hands with long thin fingers, now beginning to twist at the knuckles just like hers, as arthritis slowly begins to take its toll.  Physical and character traits all prove my maternal heritage.

The same is true of my father, the shape of his nose clearly visible in the middle of my own face.  The same heavy, hooded eyelids cover my eyes, forcing me to wrinkle my forehead as I open them widely enough to see where I am going.  The medical issues which have troubled him for decades now visit me with regularity.

My lineage and family ties are settled issues of record.  There can be no doubt who I belong to.

So, I celebrate my birthday on a day which may or may not be the actual date upon which I made my entry into this world.  Our Savior has the same problem, so I’m in good company there.

What difference does the date make?

What difference indeed? 

I’ve talked with a number of people over the years about their faith.  Every once in a while, the subject of when they came to know the Savior comes up.  Answers vary greatly, from the exact hour and minute, to one I used to have a problem with:  I think I’ve always believed.

Without exception, all profess to believe completely today.  I accept their testimony of the facts. 

Not all would agree with me.

Some would tell you there must be a clear record of the time you came to God in belief and acceptance of His gift of grace.  I would suggest that you ignore such talk.

Do you need to know clearly Whom you believe in?  Absolutely!

Whom.  Not when

I know I’m part of the Family.  I know who my Father is.

It’s nice when someone notices the Family resemblance, too.

There is a record book.  No clerical errors there.

My name’s written in it.

The book is still open for new entries.





The Lord writes in the census book of the nations, “This one was born there.”
(Psalm 87:6 ~ NET Bible)


But I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.
(I Know Whom I Have Believed ~ Daniel W Whittle ~ American lyricist/evangelist)





© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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