We traditionally pass through life in three tenses—future tense for the first 30 years while looking forward to the perceived freedoms of adulthood; present tense for the next years between 30-60 as life’s reality kicks in and we become more obsessed with success, or mere “survival of the fittest.”— Approaching the 60s, conversations start shifting more into past tense as the present becomes more overwhelming and the future more uncertain.
The most critical of the three may be the present tense in which we enter with too little preparation coupled with absolutely no forewarning that the actual present consists of only a fleeting, fragmented second! Everything else is either past, immediate present or future tense! Therefore to live solely in present tense is to live in a dream world of “Let’s Pretend.”
Let’s pretend that persistent unhealthy lifestyles, poor judgment and bad decisions will not follow us into future tense and take a heavy toll when least expected and with less ability to cope.
Let’s pretend that opportunities–which do not always come at opportune times–will always knock again, or that special love by family, friends or others, taken for granted, will remain unaltered throughout time. While all three tenses are of equal importance, the wisest of the three to take most serious should be in proper perspective as requires the most pre-planning!
In 1st Cor: 13:11 we read; “When I was a child I spake as a child; I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things…”
In society’s academic, scientific and technological adulthood of today, it is high time we put away childish threats and sophistication of WAR and destruction! The hallmark of spiritual maturity is gentleness and love, fortified with compassion, courtesy, patience, forbearance and conciliation. Upon reaching such spiritual adulthood our own heroic duties will no longer be neglected in our zealous search for (or to be) heroes. Nor will we continue to be so preoccupied with uncovering “…footprints in the sands of time,” that we fail to leave any of our own… “Footprints that perhaps another, sailing o’er life’s solemn main, some forlorn and shipwrecked brother, seeing, shall take heart again…” as we continue to conjugate the Tenses of Life.
Indelible in my mind will ever be the statement of the Native American being interviewed by a reporter who, when asked of his view on religion, replied: “Religion is what you get when you’re scared to go to hell. Spirituality is what you get when you’ve been there…” (Investigate! 1-800-22-UNITE)