“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one.”
So true! However I’ve gotten to the part of my book that has more daunting ordeals than amiable adventures – I’ve read enough to know I don’t know how solve the puzzles I might face. And I fear that even if I had the wisdom, I lack the wherewithal to pull it off. Sometimes rehearsing the gaffes, disappointments and debacles is a frustrating default mode – I go there instead of stepping out in the hope of touching solid ground. It’s a variant on “I live in my own little world – but they know me there.”
But living in the past, though tempting, is not living. Nor is [my] fearing the future, living. I can’t remake what happened; I can learn from it. I can’t prevent tomorrow’s surprises; I can prepare. Reading other peoples’ chapters can be an antidote to rereading my former chapters, and an elixir of courage for the uncertain times ahead.
Billy Graham once said, "I had been taught all of my life how to die, but no one had ever taught me how to grow old." So at age 92, he wrote Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well, which I started reading this week. And after the depressing trip to the Smithsonian, I began Surprised by Meaning: Science, Faith and How We Make Sense of Things by Alistair McGrath.
“How do we make looms that weave threads of facts into tapestries that show patterns,” asks Alister McGrath – especially in an age that generates more “facts” than we can sanely assimilate into any of our “books?”
· Is faith, like that of Billy Graham’s, merely a human invention to bear the regret and grief that is often life’s crushing load?
· Where did we, then, get the idea a Person had the power to bear our griefs, and make sense of the senseless pain that can overwhelm us. (Matthew 11:25-28 )
These are questions for which looking back makes sense – almost as one may glance in a rearview mirror before changing lanes. As I read Dr. Graham’s and Dr. McGrath’s books, I am hoping for the courage and good sense to stay put in the present even as I change life's confusing lanes!
“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”(Isaiah 46:3-5)