What if I told you that it is possible to see the future, even predict it?
If you could see the future, would it change your present?
You can see the future, but perhaps not in the way you think. Some of you will be tempted to stop after what I am about to say, but press in. Stay with it, because this is something that can make your life truly meaningful, truly remarkable:
The future is hardship.
I know, it’s not a pleasant thought. Stay there, though. Linger long enough to see past hardship merely as something to avoid. Consider that every relationship you have ever had was strengthened through it. Remember that every time you have grown more mature or able somehow, hardship forged you. Understand that the most effective you have ever been was likely in helping another through hardship of one kind or another, perhaps even one you had experienced yourself.
And considering, remembering, understanding that, how does it inform your present?
Too many move from here to “carpe diem.” While “seize the day” has its merits, it is fundamentally flawed. When we make our lives about making the most of today, we position ourselves “in spite of” or “against” the inevitable.
And often, we do it alone.
Friends, the future for every one of us is hardship, and that is why we cannot merely make the most of our days.
We must see into the future, and make the most of the days of others.
We must change our present not just for ourselves, but for everyone we can.
For the older among us: if you had known in middle or high school that the person across the room would attempt suicide at some point in his life, would it have changed your present? If you knew the young lady in your class would become a teen mom, or the kid you saw every day but whose name you didn’t know would be diagnosed with cancer in his 30s, would that have changed your present?
And for the younger among us, if I could tell you right now that one of the people you eat lunch with would be a widow 10 years from now, or that next year one of his parents would pass away, would that change the present?
Would it change what we talk about? What questions we ask? How we greet people? What we post on social media?
We are too often concerned about what divides us into our categories, and not enough concerned about what categories unite us. Difficult though it is to experience, uncomfortable though it is to share, hardship unites us.
What would it look like if hardship united us, rather than isolated us?
You can predict the future. Will that change your present?