As I caught up with an old friend, we began to reminisce. Our shared experiences included working for the same company and dealing with the same antagonist that made our lives difficult. As we talked about the challenges then and now, I found myself reflecting on the snapshots of a man who made my life difficult over the years.
At one time, he was a dominating force in my life. He shaped the context around me in ways that were often unhelpful. He was an ally that was also dangerous and difficult. As I look back at that period, metaphorically he was a tall, powerful, and dominating force.
As I play the memories and perspectives forward, I see the image coming into sharper focus. He is more human with vulnerabilities and weaknesses. The judgment of others slowly takes a toll. His stature diminishes. His power recedes. His dominance fades.
In the early days, I could not see the possibilities of what would unfold. It felt like the dominance would last forever. Nothing could or would challenge his standing. Time has painted a very different picture. For him and others like him, the prophecy has been fulfilled; “In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings and wilt like cut flowers in the sun.” (Psalm 37.2)
The images blur into a short film. The mountain becomes a hill and then a bump. What was dominating is now seen in context. The lingering challenge I am left with is rhetorical. Is this a foretelling of my future? Am I living out Scrooge’s dream with an opportunity to do things differently?
Your history and mine cannot be changed. We can do something with it. We can use it to learn. We can treasure the love and friendships that shaped us for the better. We can remember that our future is determined by what we do in the moment we have. It is present. It is now. It is here. Every moment is a gift of time, an opportunity to make a difference. It’s time to put our freedom to use.