The Future

Into the distance

Into the distance

In a little corner of Cheyenne that isn’t traveled much, there is a stack of preformed railroad tracks stacked up next to a main line.  They remind me of the preformed fence sections showcased at Home Depot. Dropping a 40 foot section of track in the right place would be considerably more difficult. an require a whole different set of equipment, than putting up an 8 foot section of cedar fence.

Railroad tracks as a symbol of the future are really cliche.  I hesitated to shoot these for that very reason, yet the more I look at them, the more it makes me ask myself some of those “future” questions.

Even the questions are cliche, and can seem an exercise in navel-gazing, especially when I place them in a public forum such as this.  Where am I going? What will I do? How will things turn out?  It’s a lot like gazing into the Magic 8 Ball and expecting an answer that really means something.

All those questions are about the unknown, and the only reason we ask them are because we want to know!  We have this insatiable thirst to know what will be. This makes no sense at all, as we cannot possibly know what will happen.  We can make educated guesses that are based on what has already happened, but even those are subject to a providential U-turn that defies explanation and rationality.

This has been the way of humanity forever.  There have always been people who want to know what will happen in the future, and also those who proclaim to have that knowledge.

Jesus, however,  tells us that that’s a pointless exercise.  In Matthew’s Gospel, he tells us all we need to know about this subject.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?o Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?   Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. (Mt 6:24-27; 36)

That’s pretty good advice, to stop worrying about tomorrow.

The next time you look at a section of railroad tracks heading off into the distance, just ask what it took to put them there, and not what it means for your life.


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