Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Toward Freedom XXVIII

Stepping Lightly Into the Future

I'm always a little surprised when daylight comes back. Streetlight-moderated darkness slowly gives way to dawn, the moment of change happening but unidentified, and the new flood of light washes across the world outside.
    The future is out there, somewhere. Many futures. In my twenties, I didn't think much about it; I took care of the days, and the months and years took care of themselves. I spontaneously went where interests led me. Sometimes this worked out well, from my point of view, and other times not so well. I remembered the failures.
    Failures accumulate, taking up mental space, each of them a voice talking about what not to do or how not to do it. By the time I was in my forties, I was thinking more in terms of failure analysis than in terms of possibilities. Failures lead to predictions of what not to do, and the path gets narrower. Whatever future is left looks a lot like night, with no possibility of sunrise. Ever.
    God is said to be the light of the world. He is portrayed as a supernova, exploding into the world, actinic, scarifying. The need for change is here, but what change? Oh, yes, a supernova changes everything, blasting the light out of a volume light-years across. If you're a new sprout, you're gone in a flash, ash.
    Where is the space for a sensitive soul in God's new world? For the last few days God has been whispering to me "Don't stomp on the future." Prediction has turned into a dictator, ashing new growth before it even gets a chance. Even doing nothing is better than wearing the dictator's shoes in the new garden. Let things grow. Wait. Let new light gently flow into this nearly sterilized space so that something new can grow and make a home for all those deranged, homeless soul-creatures you've both harbored and punished.
    God cherishes life, in all of its fantastically varied forms. He spreads his arms and light blooms across the flowered expanse, lending life to the delicate and the strong. I am alive. He cherishes me, not as another number as a dictator, but as a living being. His future is better than mine, if strange and therefore frightening. He asks--not demands--for me to hold his hand and walk with him, not on the path that I dictate but on the path that he invites.
    Failure isn't an option because it's impossible. God is patient, and allows this idea to seep slowly into the ravaged garden he planted 61 years ago and that I have mis-tended by trying to tell things how to grow. I don't know what will happen tomorrow, next year, the next moment. Control isn't an illusion, but it is incomplete; some things I choose--whether to write a story or go back to bed--and some things happen. Jazz musicians don't dictate, but respond, and dancers flow with each other through communication going to fast for full perception. Surfers ride waves, each one different within the model of physics that dictates the shape but not the details.
    I fall down, run away, hide. God invites and waits. Gentle light comes to the desert and... who knows? I feel the need to control because surprises have usually been bad, at least in my perception. I get scared. God waits... and continues inviting, with a smile.

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