Come and share the Five Minute Friday fun at our new home http://fiveminutefriday.com/. Here’s my contribution to this week’s prompt ‘Future’ sparked by Kate Motaung’s own post.
Kate wrote in her opening post on this prompt, ‘the real joy lies – in the future’. I’m not sure if I agree with that.
Her job means she has spent a lot of time ‘dwelling on the past’ and finding it easy to ‘get bogged down by what needs to be done right now’. Mine means I spend a lot of time helping people make the most of what time they have left on this earth, valuing the quality of the present rather than the quantity of their future or past.
End of life care brings a different perspective and sense of time passing. While their clock may be ticking down apparently faster and faster, my brief often involves slowing the moments down by taking time to be with a person, to listen to them and hear who they are and who they’ve been, rather than just treat a patient.
Some have had enough and wish they could control the timing of their end, bring it forward. Others try to ignore the ever closer finishing line, pretending death can’t happen to them. Some carefully hand over details and responsibilities so loved ones are not left in further distress. Others wait for a miraculous cure. Some are haunted by unresolved issues from their past. Others are able to say they’ve had ‘a good innings’ and are ready to go.
But I think the future is always in their minds, acknowledged or not. In fact, past, present, and future are all somehow combined once someone is told their time left is short.
I wonder if it’s a bit like that for God? His name, Yahweh, is usually translated as ‘I am who I am’ but it can also be translated ‘I was who I was’ or ‘I will be who I will be’. If God is eternal, omniscient, time doesn’t exist for Him like it does for us. Our words and experience are too limited to be accurate but perhaps God exists in a perpetual Now.
I think those moments when we are ‘in the zone’ totally absorbed in a creative activity may be when we get a small taste of what that might be like.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a planner by nature so I’m very future oriented. Even when I’m gardening, often what excites me most is seeing shoots coming up or buds starting to form – the promise of what’s to come. But for me, the ‘real joy’ is in the balance of past, present, and future, the valuing of all three, or even the dismissal of such limited distinctions.