Past, Present, Future
for who you might become, by Kate Bowler I'm haunted by the shadows of the old me. The one who's tried every promised elixir, every five-step plan, every guru's solution to what ails me. But nothing seems to stick. I'm the same me with the same problems and the same quiet hopes... What new beginnings are possible? Blessed are we, the incomplete, standing at the edge of what could be, in this perpetual season of waiting and looking and longing for the fulfillment of hope. Blessed are we, the restless, grieving what's over, but isn't done, what is gone, but isn't finished. Blessed are we, in our midnight struggle with past and future, while the present has already arrived outside our door like flat-packed furniture with missing parts. God, what can we do with what we have now? And who we are? And who might we become? ...Never doubt it. God is writing you into the story of the world's healing. And your own.
Your Sunday Retreat with Christa Mastrangelo Joyce is a reader-supported publication. I am deeply grateful to offer this work. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I’m sitting with this idea of time and how we live within it. Often, I recall the quote from Faulkner who said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” It really isn’t. The past is written into who I am now, into my limited vision of who I might become.
Time is so interesting. If you’ve experienced deep grief, you might have experienced the way that time shifts, and pain, remembrances, resurface as if you are living in a time that has already been. And yet, it’s still so very now.
Somehow, we imagine a future self and reimagine that future self, and then suddenly, the future arrives and so much of us is still like the past, like what was once the present. Dr. Seuss wrote, “How did it get so late so soon,” and, I think, yes, yes, truly how did it?
Yet, some part of us shifts and is reconfigured, cultivated into another becoming. I heard Rob Bell recently in his podcast episode entitled “That Was 9 Robs Ago” say this very thing. Some part of us releases into the future and it’s almost hard to even remember that other person. That was 9 Christa’s ago, I think, as I recall some of the choices that truly are part of the past that hasn’t past exactly, but feels less familiar.