A Crystal Ball

A Crystal Ball

Lent 21


Tonight the news in the U.S.A. will be full of politics.  It will consist of the counting of ballots and pundits making their predictions.  It will be a guessing game that will continue even after the elections in November.  Life is a series of “what if’s”.  None of us knows anything for certain so, as one person has suggested, perhaps my discussions about self-knowledge are themselves a guessing game.  I understand the viewpoint.  Someone once said: “Look into the future and you see worry, look into the past and you see regret, look into the present and you shall find the purpose of life.”  I agree.


Some believe the present we are living is but a rest stop on our journey into the future.  Others believe it to be a reflection of what has been and a prediction of what will be.  Regardless of how you view it, the present is you – here and now.  The past is the recipe that cooked you into this very moment but, like all recipes, it can never be exactly duplicated.


The other day I saw a program about the culinary delights of a particular region.  Six generations of bakers were busy preparing the wares they would offer to the public.  While the fifth generation was working alongside with the sixth, using ovens that were over a hundred years old, the recipe for the bread being prepared changes daily.  “You have to know when to add more salt and when to add more water,” the father explained.  “We first check the weather and humidity before we mix anything.”


I loved the recognition that what was going on in the world, in the atmosphere, was going to impact his baking.  The truth is that we are all impacted by what goes on around us.  It becomes a catalyst for our actions and colors our beliefs.


Most of us have heard the story of the three little pigs.  One built a house out of straw; another built his house from wood.  Neither was strong enough to survive.  The third little pig built his house using bricks.  They were heavy to carry and not as the pigs of his past had done their houses.  The third little pig knew what had been done in the past had not lasted, though, and he took a chance.


When we keep using the same bricks, figuratively, to build our lives, then we are going to end up with the same failures.  I often sit in different pews at church.  The perspective is not that different.  After all, it is the same building with the same people.  It is just different enough, though, to keep me alert.


Sometimes we gain the most when we venture into the unknown.  There are no crystal balls that allow us to look either into the future or the past.  We only have our own mirrors and I will admit that looking into them is not always pleasant.  It is necessary, however, if we are to grow into a better version of ourselves.


The following is an anonymous quote but excellent advice.  “Once you have decided to become better you will have to have a plan. It doesn’t have to be a long, intricate plan. It can be simple. Save a dollar a day. Walk a mile a day and read an article a day. That is a simple plan with achievable goals. Someone is going to develop a plan that will take them into the future of their dreams. Let it be You!”


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