I am almost daily at odds with myself. There is a vision, a dream
of who I must be, what I must do, where I must be at–and I feed it
often with the Spirit and his Word. But then there is the jarring
reality of life in a complex world with its integrated economy,
tangling web of relationships, and urgent tasks.
When I look back on many of these entries, it can be invigorating to
suddenly be transported into that imaginative world where these dreams
can take anchor. But I look where I am today…am I really in a
different place? Have I really made different decisions? Is
my life really all that different? Or do provocative words cover
up the fear and lack of creativity that keeps me from this other way of
being, doing, and living?
I recently read a bit on the prophets by Walter Brueggeman. He
wrote about the vitality of reconnecting ourselves with the tradition
of history and connecting that to a firm forward hope. This is
essentially what it means to be prophetic in our day.
Sometimes it is easy to forget the neighbors of History and Future and
see only the Now–either to be stuck in it or to see it as an eternally
fixed reality. When I am oppressed by that aforementioned
tension, I think that this is my tunnel-vision. I feel stuck in a
rut–or better yet–a wheel on which no matter how fast or slow I run,
I will eventually end up in the same place again and again and again.
I think one of the amazing things about God being the One who was, who
is, and is to come is that whatever rut or wheel I feel stuck in, it is
really just short-sightedness or tunnel-vision. If there is
Christmas, then there must be the Cross. But if there is the
Cross, there must be Resurrection. And so when I look back on my
old entries, I really have no reason to doubt my sanity or feel naive
or deceitful. Those hopes and dreams are real not only because
they are genuine, but because they spring from the realities of history
(a.k.a. ‘tradition’)–creation, Abraham, Moses, David, the Prophets,
the early church, the later church, and of course, Jesus himself.
My dreams are hints of the very dreams of these worthier ones who have
come before me. And if the prophets of old longed with suffering
for the very things that I experience today, then who am I to feel
above the privilege of suffering for an even brighter hope?
Perhaps the feeling of being “stuck” in the
present is actually impatience with it.
And so I conclude: praise for yesterday, grace for today, and hope for tomorrow.