Saturday, September 22, 2007


Past, Present, Future

There are lots of interesting concepts within the notion of time.

  • The present is but a single point in the full breadth of experience.

  • The past is (theoretically) completely accessible by memory, but totally unchangeable.

  • The future is entirely alterable, but completely unknowable (except by supernatural means).

  • Even tho the present is but a moment out of eternity, it is the most important moment. It is within this instant that we remember the past, and determine the future.

  • The past and future are forever separated by the present. They do not overlap. However, in the words of poet and philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The past is an intriguing animal. The longer I live (and, I suspect, most people), the more 3 dimensional the past becomes. It seems to be gaining a depth, a 'thickness', an emotional quality beyond just the memory ot events. I recently spent a few days back in my old home town. I lived there for most of my first 45 years, and have been gone for almost 7 years. Things I hadn't thought about, people that never came to mind all of a sudden came flooding back into consciousness. I think the surprising thing was the emotional tug. Not necessarily deep, and not sad, but there none the less.

  • Walking down the aisles of the little country store I worked in for a few months over 20 years ago.

  • Walking though the cemetery—and realizing that some of the folks I remember knowing have been gone over 30 years.

  • Driving by the old farm. Trees have shot skyward—trees that my brothers and I (mostly them) helped nurture in their infancy.

  • Seeing teenagers I worked with that are now parents of teenagers.

  • Seeing the faithfulness of God over the years. Relationships formed years ago still bring joy and challenge.

My present with Youth With A Mission was once only a foggy dream of future full-time ministry. Now it has almost 7 years of past.

I think I am living in the present, in the moment more than I used to. Although I always have been involved in various aspects of ministry, it always seemed like something that would really only happen in the future. Well, that future is now, and I try to live each day with what it needs to contain.

The future is less of an unknown 'I hope' and more of an 'I expect'. That isn't to say that the future won't take some drastic unexpected turns, but I'm not spending all of today worrying about it.

So. Rejoice in the past, remember God's blessings, provision, and direction.
Plan for the future. Do it based on faith in God's unchanging character.
But live today.

Make a difference.

Say a friendly word.

Listen and share in someone's pain.

Let your light shine.

1 comment:

Ed said...

I tend to agree with your musing Al. I am taking an inventory of my life since turning 50 and am thinking that there is more to accomplish for the kingdom of God. I am focused on the opportunities & strategising on furthering the kingdom of God more than ever before. I work very hard to survive, and to provide for my family (boomer kids do that) but my focus is changing. I am starting to get involved with the bigger picture here is Southern Alberta.....beyond the traditional church (into the heart of the community - check out my blog I am starting to understand the drive that God has placed within me (the bent / path).
We may be products from the past, but the past will not direct my future.
Your musings are great Al. Lets have a coffee sometime.


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