I remember, as a college freshman, spending much of one weekend night discussing- with the wisdom and sagacity available only to college freshmen and women- the question of whether or not we would want to know the future...for example, whether or not we would have children (we were all freshwomen that night), or whether we would have marriage AND a career (this was 1959 and marriage was a foregone conclusion)...or, more seriously, when we would die. Looking back on the lives of those young women with whom I have remained in contact, the shape of our lives has had little resemblance to what we had imagined that night- and I suspect few of us would really have wanted to know what the future would actually hold.
But the fascination with the future remains strong for we humans, doesn't it? Though we cannot know it, it captivates us...drives our curiosity...and, too often, both immobilizes us with fear and robs us of the beauty and wonder of today...or our attitude toward it does.
How the future affects us, in reality, depends upon our attitude toward it, since, in the words of my favorite nun, "It is at the edge of the future that we walk off the side of a cliff into the arms of God."
Whether we like this truth or not, it is in instability that we most often find the challenge and opportunity of change...for tomorrow may ask of us something we have never before been called to give. Only in our willingness to face the unknown future can we hear the call to beome more fully who we are intended to be. Only in our willingness to face the unknown future can we be brought to full stature, even as we may be tempted to crawl into the comfortable and safe cocoon of what we have aways been.
How we enter the future is the evidence of our faith, our willingness to believe that the God of Love who calls and guides us intends good for us. A challenge? Indeed. For in the midst of hardships, fears, trials, deaths, it is difficult to believe that God will raise us from this valley of shadows to live again. But such is the stuff of faith...and it requires of us the willingness to give our fullest effort to make the future both whole and holy...the willingness to let go of the need to control, to live with uncertainty, to dare to say "YES" to the unknown.
For the God of Surprises awaits us in the future even as S/He is present with us in the now...and it is only in our willingness to step forward- admittedly often with trepidation and trembling- that we will permit the future to shape & make us fully. Holding the future in fond embrace is the way we best celebrate TODAY- what is- and leave tomorrow to God, all at the same time...one of those oxymoronic conundrums which are part of the journey of faith. In the words of Henry Ward Beecher, "You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it."
May your today be lovely, dear ones far & near, and may you be filled with all of the hope & courage & strength you need for every step of the journey. Know, always, that you are loved.
another psalm for a new day
I open my heart, Loving, Living God.
I place myself in your hands...
I breathe in the beauty of the rising sun...
I savor the gift of another day
Wherever this day leads
let me rest in the assurance
of your presence with me, in me,
under & around me...
Let me taste every moment
and savor it all.
Hold me in your loving arms and breathe
into me the blessing of peace...
Remove from my heart all fear, all anxiety
all that keeps me bound
and threatens my freedom
For in you I find refuge...
in you I find welcome...
in you I find justice & hope...
in you I find my fullest self.
And it is ENOUGH.
stuck- a psalmUnstick me, O God.
Pull me from this
mire of self-pity and anxiety
in which I have
Remove from me
all fear- about the future
about my finances
about my health
about my children & grandchildren.
Help me to accept & embrace
all of life,
no matter what it brings,
confident that the strength
to see it through WILL
be there, as it has always been
in the past.
You are my rock, my firm ground...
under your wings I hide...
in your arms I find comfort...
from you I draw my strength
Help me to live this day
wisely & well. Amen & amen