One of the best birthdays of my whole life

May 2, 2024

By Jeff Becraft


In all my years, I have never taken time off for my birthday… until two Fridays ago.

It had been four years since our son and I had played golf together. Now, we are not great golfers. In fact, we would consider it a badge of honor to hit a house with a golf ball.

But I like being outside, I like playing sports, I like the competition, and you get to socialize with people that you generally like to hang out with.

Since it had been a long time since I’ve gotten to play a round of golf with Josiah (no one else in our immediate family plays golf), this was high on my bucket list. I figured by doing it on my birthday, I could pull the birthday card and try to make it happen.

It wasn’t a great time for Josiah to do it. He had just been out of town on a trip with his wife and so to miss a Friday of work was not great timing for him. And they have two young kids. But he agreed to do it. It was a big sacrifice on his part to make this happen. We had trouble finding a public golf course between Columbia and Asheville and we almost gave up. He was going to drive all the way to Columbia, but then that was a really long trip for him. We finally found one in Greenwood, which was still a long trip for both of us but we got together that Friday and played golf together. My wife made a special breakfast and special dinner that night and I heard from all the other members of the family during the day.

It was probably one of the best birthdays of my whole life.

Even getting to the golf course was a refreshing experience. It was on all these back roads and it was really beautiful. As I drove along, the song Cat’s in the Cradle came to my mind:

… My son turned ten just the other day
He said, thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw, I said, not today
I got a lot to do, he said, that’s okay
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
He said, I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him

… And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when”
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

… I’ve long since retired (that part’s not true for me yet), my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind
He said, I’d love to, dad, if I can find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you

… And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when”
But we’ll get together then, dad
We’re gonna have a good time then

I am not wise enough or smart enough or anything else to tell anyone how to keep all the plates spinning or all the tennis balls up in the air or whatever.

I just know that I am really glad I took a day off work to spend some time with a member of our family doing something that I will probably remember for a long time.

So, if there are any adjustments we need to make in our lives, now’s the time to do it.

It’s a great day to have a great day!


Jeff Becraft is the Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Our Place of Hope is a paradigm shift for people living with mental illness that encourages them to regain meaning, purpose, and hope for their lives. You can connect with Jeff at  [email protected].