Pretend to be Scrooge for a few paragraphs. Put on his heavy, black coat, sleeping cap and one faintly lit candle and seat in a dank room with a smoldering fire facing you.
All right, don’t pretend; it’s not very inviting but instead think of life’s three segments and you get the picture. Three spirits visit Scrooge on one single night and about one night, but in our lives those spirits live within us everyday – Past, Present and Future – as well they should.
Depending on who you are, most of your time is spent in one of them when all of us ought to learn to live in all three at the same time. If you’re down and out, it’s “Present” and his constant visits to the gas station and that “Future” lottery ticket that’s always a number or two off. If you’re in your prime age then the “Present” fills your prime-time because the other two don’t exist, yet. If you’re over 50 then it’s that 18 year old from your “Past” that now marvels you.
Scrooge’s visits all focus on one day and its developments – good and bad. Our lives are best lived by weaving between them all, and attempting to bring them together from the “Present” to help form our “Future” but that’s not always easy to do. That darn “Past” doesn’t seem to change (go wonder?!) and good and bad seem to filter my “Present.” (Welcome to life!)
The “Past” only (and I mean “only”) influences your Present but can never dictate your Future. How often does the “Past” brand us so our “Present” paralyzes us to a “Future” already made? There is no fortitude in that thinking, no strength or perseverance. There is “only” (there’s that crazy word again) a”Present” that freezes within us a resignation claiming it is a “given”; and that stupid phrase is repeated, “It is what it is.” But the retort is always, “You don’t know what it’s like for me” as though you have the unique fortune to be the first person to know misfortune.
When this happens then we become the guy with that heavy, black coat in that cold room with the fire slowly burning out. Our “Past” happened (which only pasts can do), our “Present” is now and ours in the making toward an unknown “Future”. Who knows the “Future?” No one does but we allow the “Past” to inform our “Present” and influence our “Future.” What else can the word “hope” mean?