None of us know what the future holds. We love to plan, to hope, to fear – but we don’t know. I suppose, this is one way we are all truly equal. None of us knows what lies ahead, excepting those who believe in psychics or prophets, but even they only know what they are told by the forces that be. Most of us take steps towards ensuring a bright future – in superstitious ways, in methods of investment or protection – but no one can guarantee it for themselves or any other. I think there is wisdom in planning. I quite enjoy it. I think it is prudent to invest money and time wisely. In fact, one could argue anything less would be irresponsible for the very reason that we do not know the future. If we squander the now, how can we complain when our future is no more?
While squandering a bit of my time recently, I was watching an episode of Arrow where two characters had (roughly) this exchange: “Do you believe in destiny, Mr. Queen?” “I prefer the concept of free will.” One word difference and it would’ve been a theological debate. Predestination? Or free will? In a belief some might call “uncharacteristically illogical” for me, I believe in both, to a degree. I think we’re all meant to do something (or many somethings), but those things change, to a degree based on our decisions. Certain things are “fixed” points, and if one person does not fulfill them, another person will of their own free choice. I have no science or scripture to back it up, and it might be overly influenced by an indulgence in the pseudoscience cocktail which are comics. I think, if nothing else, it’s a decent attempt for our human brains to make sense of the concept of destiny – whether you believe in a God who is ordering the world or convolutedly in the chaos and coincidences of life aligning to make things come about.
The Unknown has been weighing on me rather heavily of late, seemingly more so every day. It fascinates me to assess my personal perspective on it. It’s safe to say that at any point during a day of my life, I have an equal amount of unknowing about the future. In fact, a 100% unknowing of it at any time. But my feelings about it vary vastly day to day, minute to minute. Why should my feelings about it ever change? What purpose does it serve? Why, when I quit my job six months ago, was I hopeful whereas I am now dreadful? Is it some sort of survival instinct? A conviction? A premonition? If so, what is the best way to use it? I feel that my instinctual reaction is to feel overwhelmed and give up. However, if it is any of those three things, shouldn’t I instead use it as fuel to take action? An opportunity? Once again, I come back to the concept of squandering time. I enjoy leisure, I think it is important to take time to do things typically thought of as “unproductive,” such as time for introspection. But at some point, “introspection” or “assessment” become “stalling” and “navel-gazing.”
Moving forward is hard. Every time I feel I’ve reached a point of comfort with The Unknown, it throws something new at me. Maybe comfort isn’t what I’m supposed to desire. About anything. Comfort is like happiness, a thing people strive for, but have trouble defining, and never seeming to acquire it through any means other than decision. I think culture lost something when it decided that faith and belief were for weak-minded people. Faith is actually strength. Faith is believing when you don’t have any logical or scientific reason to think an outcome will become reality. It sounds ridiculous. If I said to someone, “I have faith that I will become President someday,” that, in this current moment, is insane. But this is where the waters get muddied. If I ACTUALLY believe that, if I am convinced of it in my head, then (if I have any sanity) I will not take steps towards that, not being dissuaded by anything. That’s insanely powerful, to the degree of being a “self-fulfilling prophesy” of sorts. In fact, probably just about any “successful” cult would be happy to illustrate for you how faith can drive people to do things that truly awe.
I think, in many ways, I’ve been like the disciples saying to Jesus, “Why couldn’t we…?” and he’s responding,”Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” There is more than one way to move a mountain. I think most Christians fall into two camps: those who want the mountain to move miraculously and without any action by them, and those who believe they have to do it all themselves. Neither is healthy. Can one or the other be a reality? In my belief, yes. In every circumstance for every person? No. (I will acknowledge that in the other gospels this is followed up with a comment on prayer and fasting, so clearly that IS important.)
I have no answers. I have no insights. My analytical nature wants to go to statistics, but The Unknown has no respect for them. Neither the person who receives a $30,000 tip out of nowhere or the person who loses a loved one in a car accident care about the statistics of such events. Statistics are only the care of those trying to outsmart The Unknown. But, you can’t. You must choose to have courage and go on despite its presence. As has been expressed by a countless number of people in a wide variety of ways, courage isn’t the lack of fear but the ability to move on despite it.
I will choose faith in the face of The Unknown.
I will choose action despite The Unknown.
I will choose to feed hope instead of fear.