He has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
We can be obsessed with both the past and the future. There are times when we just can't stop thinking about what has happened to us. We spend precious time and energy twirling events around in our minds, as if we were sucking a piece of sticky saltwater taffy. We remember and re-live the situations, people, words and attitudes that touched us in some way. We ask ourselves why things happened as they did, we wish we could un-do what was done, we savor the wonder or chew the sorrow and allow the emotions that claimed us then, to claim us all over again. We do the same with our future. We dream about the possibilities, the things we'll do, the things we'll acquire, the ways we'll change our lives and our world. We plan and scheme and allow our hearts to be captured by that which we have not yet apprehended, but can only dimly see.
The ability to review our past and envision our future is a gift the Holy One has given us to help us make sense of our lives. It is appropriate for us, at times, to pay attention to our past and our future, but it is God alone that holds it all in the eternity of time. When we think too much about the past or the future, we can be diverted from living in the present moment and miss something very important. We miss the living of our life. It passes by while we are occupied with what has gone before or what we hope will come. The Holy One has all that in hand – we might find our lives more meaningful if we would simply live them right now.
O God, in your timelessness, no time is frozen. Let me free myself from the obsessions that keep me from living this moment that is before me.