Sunday, November 15, 2009

More About That Path

And a quote from Anne Lamott who is quoting E.L. Doctorow about "the path"

"E.L. Doctorow once said that 'Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.' You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard." — Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

Hmmm...just enough light to see a few feet in front of you. 

The other night I was going through some old AOL files on the geriatric computer that sits in the dining room. The computer is about 7 or 8 years old and the files date back to about 2004.  There were over 4800 emails. Many of them were written to yahoo email lists...the Wider Universalist Fellowship, Christian Universalism and others.  It is eye opening to go back and read emails you've written even just five years ago. 

There was one email I came across that was in reply to the following question:

Were you given a book of your entire existence from birth to death, opened of course to today's page, would you dare turn that page to know what "the morrow shall bring?"

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                             Photo by TON70

My reply...

Hmmmmm....would I turn the page?  Ignoring the fact that it might all be predetermined whether I would turn the page or first reaction is that I would not.  If tragedy looms ahead, I don't think I would want to know for sure. 

Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. KJV

Would I want to know if tomorrow my health would fail....or one of my kids would be don't think I could cope with the certainty of it.  So, no, I don't think I would peek ahead to future pages and chapters to see what was going to happen.  If we are believers in UR, we know how it all ends anyway......

That reply was written during the period of my incessant, obsessive, relentless search for the answer to the free will/total determinism question.  You know like the old Miss Clairol commercials...Does she or doesn't she? (have "free will") Even though I wouldn't "bet the farm" on the conclusion I've come to, I do have more peace about the question. 

And my answer to the question about the book of my life.  Well, it is the same answer I gave five years ago.  I wouldn't turn the page.  I guess it is really God's mercy that he gives us just enough light to see a few feet in front of us....


Sue said...

Oh, I agree. I wouldn't want to see ahead either. If I had been able to see ahead to what the years would be like after I got well after my 6+ year bout with CFS, and if I had known that in many ways life was going to be just as awful or even harder? Well, suicide gal I think I would have been.

And too, in terms of good things that might happen and seeing ahead to them - that would sort of do your head in as well a bit, I think. You would start behaving differently.

Interesting questions and thoughts :)

Keith said...

I think I might turn one or two pages, as a point of preparation for what is to come, and maybe even some relief since we usually worry about things that don't happen, and we can see for sure. Also, if you turn far enough ahead, you can see the results of "this too shall pass." But "turning the pages takes away trust." God wants us to trust Him, and to try to turn the pages takes away that trust.