The Changing Times

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Open my eyes
And let me see
That how things are
Aren’t how they should be.

Open my mind
And let me know
That every moment’s
A moment to grow.

This is just a short poem that came to my head today near the end of lunch. I’m not quite sure why, but it did. I’m still trying to figure out the implications of it myself. I’ve been kind of beating myself up a bit lately, because every time I try to do things right, they always end up wrong. God’s basically trying to tell me that it’s alright. I’m a work in progress, and while He would love to see me always do the right thing, He understands that I need His help. I just have to be patient and let myself grow. I need to learn from the mistakes I make today so I don’t make the same ones tomorrow.

I’m the sort of person that looks forward with anticipation to the future. I don’t think I was always this way. I used to be really centred on the past, wishing I could do things over. But that just doesn’t work. And I suppose looking toward the future isn’t the greatest, considering if things go differently than expected, it causes disappointment. But the trick I’m starting to learn is that life, in regard to time anyway, is like a row of 3 pool balls. The first ball in the row is the past. This past is what got us to the second pool ball, the present. This ball rockets in with force to the present. Now, the objective is to cause the future – the third ball – to go in the right direction and with a burst of energy that can cause amazing things to happen. There’s two approaches. A pool player can try and hit the ball of the future straight on, always focusing on it to try and get it going the right way and getting mad when forces out of his control send it in a different direction. He can also try a different method. Instead of focusing on the future, the trick is to use the past to impact the present, which transfers its energy to the future to send it in a positive direction.

You see, a focus on any of the three time periods that neglects the other two can have serious consequences. People who focus on the past stay there. They either become dejected at a past that was unfulfilled, or they relive the happy memories in their mind – a practice that, while is not bad in itself, also causes them to forget about living their life today. A focus on the future, on the other hand, can cause frustration when things don’t go the right way. There are things that are just out of human control, or are in the control of a human other than oneself. That’s life, and a person who focuses on the future just refuses to accept that fact.

Those two extremes are the things most people see as “bad.” However, the third option can be just as dangerous. There are those that focus on the present, and as a result, they are constantly worrying about what’s going to happen and rushing around in a frantic mess trying to fix everything up right away. All three of these focuses discard the other two as unimportant, and the trick is not to choose one and make the best of it, but rather to balance the three. The best way to live life is to live in the present, plan for the future, and learn from the past. While this is obviously easier said than done, as most things in life are, it’s an important skill to learn. We must forget the past, both good and bad, while still remembering the important lessons. Those lessons help shape the present, which we we can mold to shape our needs and desires. However, while shaping our present, we must not neglect the future. We must plan for the future, remembering that external forces still play a factor and allowing our future to be changed. In other words, whatever circumstances the present gives us should shape the plans for the future. It’s great to plan and anticipate the future. It’s bad to try and predict the future; after all, none of us knows what will happen tomorrow.

There was a saying I heard once, and I thought it was great. It went something like this. “The past is history, and the future is a mystery. Today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.” It’s so true. We are in a constantly changing and shifting world. Think of an underwater bubble of air. It is constantly shifting and morphing its shape, reacting to the underwater currents. Obviously we need to stand our ground in some circumstances. But we must never hold our ground against time. We cannot stick a stake in the ground and try to stop time. It doesn’t work. Time will just pass you by, because time stops for no one.

Again, I must mention that I am far from an expert on this subject. It’s just something I’ve learned and am still in the process of learning. Take it for what it’s worth.

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