On Thanksgiving, I posted on the importance of remembering and appreciating the blessings in our lives, and how it is only possible to truly be grateful by contemplating such things. I came across a quote from T.S. Elliot that reminded me of the post but also takes it another step in my opinion.
Time present and time past/ Are both perhaps present in time future/ And time future contained in time past.
First, Elliot recognizes that both the past and the present shape the future. What has happened and what is currently happening dictates not only what will happen, but what could happen. The way we remember events/people shape how we live in the present which then has direct effect on the future. This looking ahead is based on hope. Hope of things to come. Hope of a better tomorrow. Stuff that has happened to us in the past can either cause us to lose hope or to strengthen the hope we currently have. And our current choices reflect just what kind of hope we have. Are we living for a better tomorrow in American society? Are we living in a state of waiting to be taken up in chariots of fire to heaven? Or are we living in a way that our hope is in a new heavens all the while helping re-create a new earth?
We need to look back. But we need to look forward. Past, present, and future are inseparable. They are all sewn together. To live in the present, a healthy balance of reflection and expectation are necessary.