Reconciling The Past
Some time ago I came across a question which asked:
If you had a time-machine: Would your first trip be to the future, or to the past; and why?
It took about 10 seconds for me to decide that my first trip would be to the past. Mainly to observe; but with an added caution. We are frequently encouraged to always look to the future, but there are critical and invaluable lessons to be learned from things that have already transpired. Any foundation on which we now stand (Political, Socio-Economic, Cultural, Scientific, Religious, Familial, along with many others), has its philosophy rooted in what has already preceded us.
Wisdom is the acquisition and application of knowledge gained through the crucible of experience. With that understanding there is one caveat that becomes evident which may constitute a risk in having clear and unfiltered access to the past via a time machine. The danger is very real that we would abdicate the responsibility and privilege of having the opportunity to learn through various trials. While circumventing any historical unpleasantness of the past is something that many would no doubt choose, there are just some things that can only be learned by experiencing them; as heartbreaking as some situations may be. Gaining insight is not limited to, or necessarily only acquired through the lens of foresight. If we had prior knowledge of things that were definitively unpleasant, and were offered the opportunity to sidestep said unpleasantness in order to avoid any emotional, physical or otherwise debilitating trauma, we likely would do so without a second thought.
That would be natural, as our natures are adverse to all forms of pain. Yes, it is daunting, frightening even. There will be those who would be in disagreement with this posture, but given the historical “nature” of human nature, things easily acquired without resistance or investment of time, energy and sacrifice, usually result in the devaluation of not only the process, but the very things being sought. Should this argument apply to all situations that relate to unfortunate times of pain or loss? At this point in my life journey, on this particular day, I can only speak for myself, not others. If I could go back in time exactly 17 years to this day, I would do everything in my power to circumvent the loss of our youngest son. It is highly probable that I would not give a hoot as to acquiring any latent “life lessons” or substantive wisdom through having my life irrevocably turned inside out through such an ordeal. What still remains as truth, regardless of my feelings, is that Knowledge + Experience still can equal Wisdom.
Because I follow a faith-based-tenet which ascribes to a Creator who is loving and just, and has my best interests at heart, I find myself in an extremely uncomfortable position, asking a frightening question (at least to me). Would I trade any divinely appointed Wisdom gained throughout my life to date, in order to have my youngest son brought back to life, who we lost almost 20 years ago?
I am no giant of faith as Abraham has been depicted in Hebrew and Greek writings, and my son Isaac, who carries the name of Abraham’s son, was never required or intended to be a sacrifice, but sacrifice nonetheless has transpired.
I am learning that at times when personal yet troubling questions are posed, whether by ourselves or others, they may fall into three categories.
1. Questions without immediate or readily identifiable answers 2. Questions that are not the right ones being asked 3. Questions just needing to be asked; irrespective of the preceding two conditions
Either of these three elements allow for the foundation of reconciliation; a difficult, and at times exhausting process, but one that can allow for the undergirding and unwrapping of difficult or unanswerable queries of life.
Our son Isaac would have been 22 years old on Sep 23rd 2018. No amount of questions, or lack of answers will ever erase, or diminish the love we have for him, regardless of the passing of time.
Jeremiah 29: 11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.