Of all the gifts, I’m thinking that I’m most thankful for the blank page of the moment just ahead, awaiting our first step into it, our first words coloring the empty space. Here is where the past and the future meet. This is the place where we set the memories, about which we’ll reminisce in years to come, into the history books of our minds.
Those words are especially apropos as we have just begun a new year. I have shared them before. But, as I consider that many will take those steps thoughtlessly and foolishly, I am almost tempted to repent of saying the words.
They were written as words of reassurance, drawing a picture of delight as the reader stands poised to make memories worth recording and celebrating far into the future.
I can’t help but realize they are no less true for those who step into the future with bitterness and rancor, writing their impending history with the uncaring destruction of bridges which can never again be traversed.
Then again, as I write (and think) tonight, I am reminded that it has ever been so. What is in the heart of men will make its way, however slow and inexorably, to the surface. Selfishness in the heart begets selfishness in words and in actions. Pettiness produces a like result.
The Teacher Himself said it clearly: Out of the contents of your heart, you will communicate. (Luke 6:45)
Later, one who had walked with Jesus repeated it when he suggested that a spring of salt water could not produce fresh water. (James 3:12)
We make our own choices about the history which will fill the empty page of the future when it is no longer the future.
I will not repent of the words. I’ll not wallow in despair.
Here is what I know:
The grace which has been extended to us is able to reach to the depths of our hearts. We have only to grasp hold of it and allow its work of renewal and refreshing to be completed.
No, we can’t go back and undo the past. The failures of those days still lie behind. But, they no longer have to be ahead of us, too.
The previous page is covered with yesterday’s actions and words, whether kind and constructive, or harsh and devastating. Ahead, still lies the future, clean as the artists canvas.
Our choice…More of the same, or a new direction.
Each moment, each action will determine the history which will one day be retold.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by…
(from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost ~ American poet ~ 1874-1963)
Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future…
(from Fly Like An Eagle by the Steve Miller Band ~ ca. 1976)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.