“Up ahead they’s a thousand lives we might live, but when it comes, it’ll only be one. If I go ahead on all of ‘em, it’s too much.”
The words of Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, spoken to her son Al when he asks her “Ain’t you scared it [California] won’t be nice like we thought?”
The Joads, forced off their land, left with what they could pack onto an improvised truck, are headed with thousands of others to California. They have nothing ahead of them but uncertainty and hope.
That’s what our future is: uncertainty, a thousand lives we might live. As each minute of that future becomes the present, we live the life that moment brings.
To some, this uncertainty causes fear and caution. They are so busy trying to plan the future they think they want, they miss what the present offers. They pass it by.
To others, this uncertainty is what makes life rich and worth living.
I am a strong believer in setting goals but the most important moments of my life are the ones I didn’t plan for.
I want to ask:
What if the future you will have without worry or excessive planning is better than that one narrow future you think you want? If you are dead set on having a hamburger for dinner, you might miss the invitation to go have a steak.
Meditation on the Future
The future cannot be known. I will set my goals and make my plans but I won’t get married to them. I will be open to what the future offers that I never dreamed of. I will not allow my fears to replace the excitement of not knowing.