Past, Present, Future

For most, New Year’s Day is a time of reflection on the year past and anticipation of the year to come.   Interestingly, as I think back on what I anticipated on New Year’s Day 2022, most of the major personal events of the past year were at most hoped for, but certainly not expected.     Which reaffirms that which many have come to believe about life.    That is, all we have really is now, this moment.     Yesterday is a memory which at most carries into the present its results – good or bad.   The past may be subject to endless interpretation and speculation but in the end, it simply is.     The opposite is true of the future, which is simply possibility.   True, some things are made more possible by our actions in the past and what we do in this moment, but ultimately, nothing of our future is truly certain.      Like the enigma of Heisenberg uncertainty, the very act of thinking about tomorrow affects the possibilities, and perhaps not in the direction we would desire.     While we may affect the future by our actions today, for the most part the sum of life is simply dealing with random challenges a seeming capricious world throws our way.    Thus, the dismal conclusion that all we truly have is now.    For those who ascribe to such notions, the importance of “the now” is rightly raised as it is the root from which all possible futures emerge.   

Alas, there is something unsatisfying about this perspective.     I know there is something else going on in my life which carries the whole show along.    It is as if I see the events of life are mere ripples and splashes of water which themselves are being carried on by an irresistible river.     And like a river, the evidence of movement is only obtained when one looks around.    What is behind growing ever dimmer, the present shore rushing by and that farther downstream moving ever closer.    Is it smooth water or a rapid?  

At least for me, I am certain that the river is the providential hand of God.   I pray, I confess, I fast and I can see the connection of events in the past, the present and a hoped-for future.     As I look back, I see that He has prepared me for today and have confidence that whatever challenges await, I will be able to handle them.      A friend recently posited that while belief is all about facts and knowledge, faith is all about possibilities.      Faith is thus that which connects what I know – what I believe based on experience – with that which I hope for in the future.    The thing is, whether admitted or not, all have faith in something or someone – that which transports them into a hoped-for future.     The lesson is, choose the right object of faith – for me the Christian God – and you can dispense fretting so much about “the now” and the course of all possible futures, as there is only one future towards which that mighty river flows.   To Him.

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