26 February, 2009 § Leave a comment
There’s a great deal of truth (and therefore freedom) to be found in fully dwelling within the rich reality of the present. That kind of clear-sightedness, that excitement for the now and that ability to make the most of every moment is one of my most recurring prayers. It’s such a balance, though, because the flipside is that the indictment of carpe diem! can also quickly turn into a golden excuse for myopic complacency. Even stagnancy. It’s too significant that when God moves, he calls people out of wooden boats and into salty waves. While we don’t know what comes next, we hope for transfiguration and act accordingly: faith leading to belief leading to experience leading back into faith. Or maybe more simply, while we are called to realize the full potential of today, the shaping of yesterday also teaches us to hold to the promise of tomorrow.
(O balancing acts).
I mean, I think God not only calls us to live in today but he also gives us distinct dreams of where to move towards for tomorrow, next month, next year (and so on). Of course, the scary thing is that one solid step rightly and boldly walked out in response to him, in genuine faith, often leads to a thousand unexpected twists and unpredictable turns (albeit ultimate fulfillment). Which is alarmingly terrifying and ridiculously liberating all at the same time.
I guess I would argue there’s an enigmatic, profoundly beautiful difference between not knowing where you’re going and not knowing where you’re going to end up.
The beginning of Now and Then, one of my favorite books by Buechner, comes to mind. He writes:
“I do it because it seems to me that no matter who you are, and no matter how eloquent or otherwise,if you tell your own story with sufficient candor and concreteness, it will be an interesting one and in some sense a universal story. I do it also in the hope of encouraging others to do the same – at least to look back over their own lives, as I have looked back over mine, for certain themes and patterns and signals that are so easy to miss when you’re caught up in the process of living them. If God speaks to us at all, other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that he speaks to us largely through what happens to us, so what I have done… is to listen back over what has happened to me – as I hope my readers may be moved to listen back over what has happened to them – for the sound, above all else, of his voice. (This next bit is my favorite part): Since the word that God speaks to us is always an incarnate word – a word spelled out to us not alphabetically or in syllables, but enigmatically, in events, even in the books we read and the movies we see – chances are we will never get it just right. We are so used to hearing what we want to hear and remaining deaf to what it would be well for us to hear that it is hard to break the habit. But if we keep our hearts and minds open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize, beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear him, he is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, his word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling.”
May it be so in our lives today and tomorrow and until the end overtakes the beginning.