Saturday, July 09, 2011

Timeless

People tell you to "live in the present," but I've never been able to - not from lack of trying. My present was often a painful attempt to retreat into the past or launch into the future. It was exhausting. Finally I gave up, stopped making plans or dreaming or even making wise decisions, because it didn't seem to matter, but that meant I had no hope.

I'm discovering that living time-bound is all about balance. Aiming toward the future is important. Having dreams and goals (the more precisely expressed, the better) gives me movement and direction, and it seems like God can't do much with a life that isn't moving in some direction. A lot of times I don't get to where I planned, but at least I get somewhere and that's a whole lot better than staying stuck.

But it's also important to have a life that's livable now. I have friends who are always saying, "As soon as this happens" or "As soon as I do this." Usually these people are pretty miserable in the present, but they're convinced that doesn't matter because eventually things are going to be perfect. I had a pastor once who was always talking about how great heaven was going to be and that's how we could get through our troubles on earth, and I would think, "That's great, let's go there now." One of the worst things about being a Christian is when other Christians tell you to just hold on till you get to heaven, and all you can think is, why is God making you go through this crap in the meantime? What kind of God is that?

What I'm seeing now, just from the way my life has gone, is that how I feel about my life in the present really does matter. God isn't a sadist who wants us to suffer without remedy. So if my wonderful future plans are causing me misery in the present, or if I'm using the future to distract myself from the present, then it's time to do some repair work on the everyday. With the right balance, my view of the future can enrich my present, and my present can give me the strength to push toward the future.

This is an unforgivably long post, but allow me some random closing thoughts. I just unclogged two sink drains all by myself (generations of women have had this master bathroom before me), and would you believe I found a safety pin and one of those plastic covers for a razor cartridge in one of them. Thanks to my previous landlord for giving me painstaking instructions in the art of drain clearing. Two blogs I strongly recommend: Don Miller is incredibly hard hitting and thought provoking, pretty much the sanest and most balanced voice that I know of in Christianity today; Kelly at A Restless Heart has been blogging about Lyme recovery and she's verbalizing many thoughts that express my own experience, but the words are so difficult for me to find. I've been reading Isaac Bashevis Singer; he grows on you until you're almost dependent on him - I'm reading a collection of his short stories literally straight through, with the same what-happens-next anticipation that I felt when I first discovered novels as a child.

2 comments:

Kelly Sauer said...

Thank you, Lee Ann. Do you know, I think of you often, coming out on the other side of all of this?

I think I would very much like to sit down with you and talk for a while. You say things I can't say too.

There is so much grace here.

Molly said...

I enjoy and appreciate your posts... Miss talking books with you, Lee Ann!