I struggle to live in the now. I always thought life would start somewhere a few years down the line, when I’d finally meet all the prerequisites, when I’d meet the right people, when the gloriously prophesied “fall into place” would actually occur. Only then would life begin. None of this has happened. So has life started? I’m not sure.
But, I live, I imagine and I pretend as if it has happened or will happen shortly. When wrinkled on my eightieth birthday, I imagine I will tell whomever cared to know that these were preparatory days for some fantastic turn of events. “If I had given up . . .” I imagine my shaky, octogenarian voice saying, “. . . things wouldn’t have turned out right”. Yet, I am not an old man. I’m twenty-six. I cannot live in the future. I cannot pretend.
I struggle to live in the now because, today, I am the dilapidated Pruitt-Igoe complex. Yes, they planned for me to prosper, to be full of hope and aspirant of a future. Yet, I stand empty, except for drug-peddlers and whores; each shattered window perhaps boarded up — but long gone are the doors. Sadly, they proclaimed too much, while, to little, I incarnated. So, in the front lawn, I buried those dreams with disparate words, before going back to my corner, muttering empty threats to all who pass by. In the silence, between words, echo shots.
It’s all right. You move on towards Jerusalem. You keep proclaiming that future on the horizon. Did you know that you fill me with rage? I rage against the night that has settled for so long over my soul. I rage against the plans and designs that have thrown me off — yet, carried you upwards . . . I am . . . I am patient in my rage, though. Mainly, I just get tired of waiting for the long, bending arc of justice to prove me right — but, maybe I’m wrong . . . it seldom bends my way . . .
In the pink twilight between awake and asleep, my dreams are madness.
As much as I can, I’ve quit trying to live in the future. I know now that dreams of the futre are an earthbound treasure that slowly eat away my soul like moths. Dreams are more about the today’s ego than Truth — about reality rather than Reality. I made abstract what was concrete. This forecasted-future suffocates me like a pillow. I’ve got to let it go before it kills me.
The future does not exist. The future does not exist. No man is promised anything, good or bad. The future does not exist and I cannot live in what does not exist. Living in what does not exist is sin and sin leads to death. Living in the future is death. So, I will consider the lilies and the grass of the field. I will not be troubled like a gentile. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” The future does not exist.
(See! I have aphorisms and verses, too.)
What does is exist, though, is now. What does exist is God. I can live now. I can live in God. I can swim in that ongoing now of God that rushes under my feet and over my head. That now of God dips into me, refreshing my soul. Wagala weia! Wallala, weiala weia! Man will not taste nor will he see — no! — man can only taste and see here, in the now. This meal is an eternal sacrifice of nows.
Feel the spine of the prayerbook in your hand. Feel its weight in your arms. Feel the words form on your lips. Hear your whispered voice proclaim praise. You genuflect in an ageless rite as the darkness deepens. You rise, unteathered from the future and exiled from the past, adrift without knowledge. Rather stupidly, you receive the eternal on your tongue.
And, for now, I thank you, God.