what was is certainly not now…

“. . .Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


(the Hamilton-Phinizy-Segrest House, aka The Phi Mu House / Athens, Ga )

Perhaps a more appropriate title might read, 250 S. Milledge, Room 5 where are you?

So let's talk about living suddenly in a Twilight Zone…

A now surreal place where you thought you knew what was what..but now,
that what, is no longer what you thought.

It was a daily part of your own small world and it seemed bigger than life…
it was larger than anything you had known…because you had become it,
and it had become you and you both belonged together, becoming a quasi one.
Whatever that one might be.

But that was multiple lifetimes ago.

You were young and very foolish.

Fast forward 40 years along an odd spectrum of time,
and you suddenly find yourself no longer recognizing any of
the what that was.

There are a few glimpses here and there which are fleeting
all the while your brain races and rages in an attempt
to right the topsy turvy twist of time.

That building, that street, that park.

You are a compartmentalized thinking individual.
Mis en place, mis en place…as in… everything has its place.

Every place and every person has long been pegged for a certain
time and space…
and yet you never imagined that two time periods would, or could,
ever overlap.
Or maybe better yet, they have collided.

An odd continuum of time is simply circling back around.
But can a continuum actually bend?
Does it not simply travel straight?
Time does not, cannot split right?

Driving up and down roads whose names are familiar, you
find yourself looking for those familiar faces from
all those many years prior.

40 years ago, you lived in a pre-civil war home.
You lived in that house 120 years following its
original inception.
Yours was room 5.

Green and pink was a theme.
Your personal room's veranda was nothing but a window sill.
It looked out over a small patch of grass with a lone oak tree.

If you are really still, you might be able to hear music
whispering on the wind…

It was a time for both romanticism and foolishness…
contingent only upon one's age and experience.

And now when the two collide, both the what was and the what is,
it is a surreal mix of regret, expectation, remorse
and hope.

And isn't that what our lives are all about…
the what was, the now and the what will be?

If we are fortunate, blessed with longevity and health,
clear of mind and vision…
we may have the luxury of merging our what was
with our what will be.

But there is never any given guarantee.

If we have regrets, so be it.
The fact of the matter is that it is more important to have hope…

Regret lives in the what was.
Like rustling lifeless fallen dried leaves
blowing helplessly in the wind.

Wonder lives in the now.
A freshly opened flower…yet its beauty is shortly lived.

Hope, on the other hand, lives for the what will be.
An endless sea of possibilities.
No matter the time or age.

Glance back if you must, but don't stare too long…
the what will be might just run off without you.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward
to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

consequences of our choices

The Wrong we have Done, Thought, or Intended, will wreak its Vengeance on
Our SOULS.”

― C.G. Jung

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”
― C.S. Lewis,

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
― Nelson Mandela

DSCN6476
(a Georgia peach / Julie Cook / 2014)

The third law of physics, as stated by Sir Isaac Newton, proclaims that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I would say that this “law” is not only true for the physical actions in our lives, but is equally true when it comes to our “mental actions” better known as the choices we make in our lives—
For every choice made, there is a resulting consequence–be it good or bad.

Some of our choices not only bring ill effects to ourselves but may have sweeping negative ramifications for others. Therefore one may, in turn, conclude that our choices are accompanied by grave responsibility. Yet who really ponders the decision to change a lane while driving as having potential grave consequence? Who really ponders the decision of taking a flight for a business trip as having possible lasting effects for our loved ones. . .as our plane is blown from the sky?

I would imagine President Harry Truman understood the concept of choices and consequences as he kept a small plaque on his desk “The Buck Stops Here.” Meaning the ultimate end of all decisions and choices regarding the best interest of all the American people and that of those in the free world, rested with him. It was ultimately President Truman’s decision to go with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A choice to bomb or not to bomb—either way would have had consequences—consequences effecting millions which would (and still) continue reverberating far into our future.

Let’s look at this concept of choices and consequences within the frame of a little scenario—

A man walks into a convenient store with a loaded gun pointed at the head of the cashier, demanding all the money in the register. Suddenly, for whatever reason, the robber choses to pull the trigger.
Lives are immediately changed forever.
For the sake of our little story let’s say the cashier is killed.
The robber, now turned murderous gunman, runs.
In that single selfish instant, the cashier’s family is changed forever .
The gunman, let’s say, is eventually apprehended.
His family is forever changed.
There is lengthy legal haggling.
In and out before a judge and the Courts.
Suddenly a bunch of other people are now consumed with the gunman’s selfish choice.
Years pass before there is a trial.
Now all of us as taxpayers are responsible for the gunman’s’ upkeep.
More lives are effected.
Eventually the gunman is found guilty and is sentenced to death.
There are appeals.
Years continue to pass as he lives in prison on Death Row, paid by taxpayers.
As other lives continue to be consumed with his own.
At some point, he turns to God.
He asks for forgiveness.
He is indeed forgiven.

God says to our gunman, “I forgive you and I love you, but your actions have consequence in the life of your world as well as in My World. As I have forgiven you, you will now be welcomed Home, but you must answer for your poor choices there in your world and undergo the punishment given. You must know that you will be with Me in and for Eternity but you will have to first undergo the consequences of your actions.”

Depending on the courts, the state of the crime, and the lengthy appeals, there will either be a sentence of death or life in prison. Either way, the gunman clings to God’s Grace—he accepts his earthly fate as a result of his initial choice of walking in the convenient store, all those many years prior with a gun in his hand, yet now instead of hate, greed, malice, there is a Peace in his being as He knows he is now forever God’s child come home. And there is a resolved acceptance to the punishment of his crime as our gunman now knows that his punishment will not be a permanent ending.

Let’s say for the sake of our little scenario that our gunman does not find God and does not seek forgiveness. He chooses to live bitterly stewing over the one hiccup in his plan, that he was caught.
If he had to do it over again, he’d make certain he was never caught.
There is no remorse—just a seething internal hate and disdain for all creation.

Depending on your belief system, be that in a Heaven or Hell, in a God of Grace and Justice or if you prefer to believe in nothing at all–either way, our gunman’s lack of remorse and choice of a selfish act now sends him either to eternal damnation or into oblivion.
End of story.
And isn’t that all quite empty and sad?

It is obviously not always for us to see justice.
Which can be terribly frustrating as well as painfully maddening. Imagine the hearts of the parents of children who’s young lives have been savagely taken from their parents arms by malice or illness. . . which must lead us all eventually to the Cross for some semblance of direction—but that is for another post.
However, the one thing we must take from this little story of ours is that we are to be mindful of our own choices.

For the one thing we can and do have some manner of control over is indeed our choices.

And granted not all of our choices are going to be as drastic or extreme as an armed gunman’s. . . as that is but a mere example. But it is an example which sums up the ripple effect of poor and selfish choices. The tentacles stretch outward casting a wide net that often stretches out through the ages. One’s negative choices can effect children, grandchildren–oftentimes altering the entire dynamics of a family for generations.

Many of us today continue to pick up the pieces of our parent’s or grandparent’s poor choices which have impacted our own lives in ways that leave us bitter and resentful.

May we then be the cycle breakers. May we be blessed with the vision to see the unhealthy and negative web which may be consuming our lives. May we rest in the knowledge that the cycle can be broken, which is after all, a mere matter of a choice.

You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.
Isaiah 41:9