Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
When some cold tomorrow finds you
When some subtle dream reminds you
How the endless road unwinds you
We have three worlds, in essence, in which we live.
Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.
When you think about it, having three options looks and sounds appealing; no matter how sideways things may turn once we choose a period to focus on.
Today is the ultimate sandwich of life. There is only one constant in the makeup of a sandwich: the adjoining pieces of bread. What goes between the bread slices, which in this metaphor is ‘today’, is entirely up to you. OK, maybe not entirely, but the degree of control people have over their present life, as opposed to the past and the future, can vary wildly. That’s part of the fascination for me. You can’t control the past, you can control, to a point, the present, and you can try to control the future. Which one is most appealing to you? Why do some choose to let go of the reins of immediate control that today offers, and fall backward toward nostalgia and inertia, to the stasis of the past? Or why do they instead leap forward to the nebulous future, trusting that the paper tiger of ‘hope’ that tomorrow seems to hold turns out prosperous?
Taking control of ones destiny comes with massive responsibility, tons of pressure, and more potential for grace, integrity, and nourishment, then any other human endeavor.
Yet the flip side of the argument is rooted in fear. With control of ones destiny comes the appalling lack of someone else to blame should things go sideways.
Sideways Rant: when did ‘sideways’ come to mean askew, or going badly, or turning sour? It began online, I discover, and then the movie by the same name made it a permanent bullet in the ammo belt of today’s vocabulary. I use it with some trepidation.
In the event that your life takes a turn for the worse on your watch, while you are at the helm; not only are you to blame, but also shouldered with the responsibility of fixing it.
Of course, in reality, whether or not you choose to admit to being in control or not, the helm is ultimately sitting there to be grabbed. If your life is careening out of control like a runaway train, the real truth lies in the fact that you are the one who released the safety break. You may sit back, hands held high, screaming “what happened?” as the roller coaster descends, but no one is fooled. The ones who are not in control are fairly obvious to most of us.
I don’t mean to deny the capricious nature of life, and the possibility of being hit by the cross-town #7 double-decker bus with the side panel of Rush Limbaugh extolling the virtues of his wisdom and his daily dose of Krispy Kremes. Anything can and does happen. So, the issue of control, when embraced, is at least in part a delusional concept. It comes with the necessary option of denial of the very fact that control of our lives is a deeply rooted dichotomy. The evidence of our lack of control springs up in front of us constantly, like those wooden bad guys at the gun range. Or that bus.
Yet if we eschew control, we are at the mercy of fate,
which is a gamble many people take, and it’s hard to blame them.
Fate treats us as the tumble weeds of life, blowing here or there, sometimes across the interstate outside of Amarillo, where we get crushed like an arthritic, disoriented armadillo.
Fate isn’t always cruel, and when she isn’t, when she throws us a curve ball that hangs and we hit it into the bleachers to win the game, her name changes.