There is often a strong temptation to look back over my shoulder with
nostalgia and a tinge of regret. Evolution has had its way in our
culture, even if people don’t believe it in its biological sense.
But it is often difficult for me to feel that I have really “evolved”
toward a better state. I really despise the narrative of evolution.
I have several friends who still enjoy The Catcher and the Rye
which is about the loss of innocence–and wanting to guard those we
love from that loss. I doubt I was more innocent before, but
maybe less complacent and less willing to give up on fantastic visions.
I often feel at odds with my station in life. I have all of
appearances of the American Dream. I have a loving and beautiful
wife, adorable baby boy, a new home, extended family all around, a
church community, etc, etc. But, oddly enough, these things offer
little to stabilize a deep seated sense of joy. Even as much joy
coming home to my budding family brings me, those moments are fleeting,
because we do not have the luxury of spending all our time together in
uninterrupted love. I wonder how much can be attributed also to
the fact that I feel I deserve these trappings of American life.
What keeps me going are these sudden bursts of joy. The
satisfaction of holding my wife and son. The rare but sublime
comfort of worshipping with others who love God more than anyone
else. A happy but substantial conversation with an old friend who
still understands what made us friends in the first place.
Inhaling the aura of delicious food shared with unpretentious company.
But in the absence of those bursts, I have hope. I know that it
often comes through as a morose hope, but it is hope nonetheless.
My meditations on Scripture convince me in my mind and heart that God
does not fail. And the disconnects in my life, the empty
promises, the disappointments, the loneliness–it all appears to have
direction and meaning with this hope.
I admit that sometimes I hope that I will be more like I was in the
past, but I know that I cannot go there. The past has brought me
to the present, and only the present will bring me to the future.
And only in the future lies the consummation of my hope.
I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;