I begin this post today not because I'm finally ready to forge forward. God knows, along with a few select other people, that I am still terrified to move out of my past and imagine anything different for my future right now. I quite literally feel paralyzed at the moment, and have since November began. I'm stuck. I blamed the past. But let's face it - I also felt comfortable. Suffering, no positive changes, same ol'-same ol' was, quite frankly, what I did best. It was what I knew. I grew accustomed to my past's face like Rex Harrison to Audrey Hepburn's. Only I didn't talk-sing. I lamented, bemoaned, wailed... but I digress.
So, no, I don't begin this post because I am ready for my future. I begin it because I have no choice. In order to become un-glued, one needs to move a little. Staying put is a sure-fire way to ensure you never move forward. And that's what the Future is all about...
The Future. Two words which when put together are enough to send anyone currently suffering (with infertility, or childlessness, or single life, or cancer, or jaundice, or a hangnail, or any other form of suffering) into a tailspin. It pretty much translates into The Unknown - and to someone currently living in the darkness of suffering, it takes a massive amount of optimism to stay positive about the unknown future. Usually, the fear of NO change greatly outweighs the hope for POSITIVE change to someone suffering. And the only thing that outweighs the fear of NO change is the fear of things getting EVEN WORSE.
For those long-time readers of mine, I'm sure you will know what I mean when I say every time I staked the claim of hitting the bottom of the suffering cesspool, there was mysteriously always a brand new lower level of dung to be found. I quickly learned to stop proclaiming how things could not possibly get any worse, because I was always unpleasantly surprised that they did.
But fearing our Future, and its unknowns, is just as detrimental as getting stuck in our Past. Fearing the passage of time makes us miss out on so much - time, and even the passage of it, is a blessing! As our faith tells us, God can make all things new. We need to believe that - because even if we don't, guess what? He still does! The passage of time is our friend, not our foe. Even the darkest moments are gone in an instant, as long as we do not fear our Future and instead place our hope in it. There is nothing to fear but fear itself - no truer words were spoken when it comes to our Future, and how we approach it.
I'm reminded, too, of the lyrics of a well-known pop song:
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
If we begin to look at each day as a fresh beginning, suddenly, the fear takes a backseat, only to sneak in when we allow it to sneak in. We may not be able to change the outcome of our Future, but it is definitely not already set in stone, already "doomed," or already ANYTHING. It is untouched, undefined, undamaged. Our perception is what needs changing, not our current circumstances. The Future is, simply, beautiful. We need to embrace that beauty by first allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to receiving its promise.
When it comes down to it, especially for those of us with a long history of let-downs, we are afraid of accepting the promise of a better Future, because so many promises we've invested in have been broken. But The Future never breaks that promise. Because The Future always is that promise. We set out in the direction of our Future, and it awaits us, for the rest of time. Beyond the rainbow. On the other side of the tunnel. Always there, never unfailing.
Staying stuck in our Past will not ensure that our Future doesn't hurt us. It will ensure quite the opposite. It blockades our path with a large mirror image of past sufferings, never allowing us to see the beauty on the other side.
Remove that mirror. Head toward the direction of your promising future. The best part? Whichever direction you head in will lead you there, and you can change directions as often as you choose. The key is - to keep moving.
(And hopefully in my not-so-distant future will be the finale of this Trilogy: The Present)