Two streams cut through the landscape of my life. Two disparate paths in the fabric of time. They begin in my infancy, intersect in my childhood, and push forward into my future. The first stream is the sum of all my positive influences. Every life lesson, every purposeful moment, and every encouraging word I received is recorded here. This stream is my life as God intended me to live it.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
But I was prematurely expelled from this stream, having been cut off by an alternate timeline. The place they cross is the nexus of my shame. It’s the day in elementary school when my private problems first spilled out into my public life, forming a wet smelly puddle on the floor next to my desk. That day I became an alien living among human beings.
The bad stream, continuing unbounded, flows into the bowels of hell itself. In this river, if followed to its natural end, I see all humanity as a seething mass of deformity, masked by a pathetic shell of hypocrisy. I hate them all for hating me and teaching me to hate myself. And in the end I will become exactly what I most despise.
For me, reality is somewhere in between. Day by day, I strive to get back to the beautiful river. I often spend time running in the green grass growing on its banks, its glories just beyond my grasp. I occasionally fall in and enjoy the ride. The sun shining on my face, I float along on my back like God’s favorite child. In this timeline I know who I am and I know why I’m here. I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by companions I meet and greet along the way. I hail their courage because I recognize that they have two streams too.
My respite doesn’t last forever. It’s never long before a sound, a smell, a circumstance that smacks too familiar sucks me as a vortex all the way back to the other place. Falling into the malevolent torrent is not my fault. It’s more physiology than philosophy. But after a while, I come up for air. The fog clears a little and I realize I am not where I belong. God wants Better for me. I’m faced with a choice. I can sit back, give up and allow the current to push me along where I do not want to go, or I can choose to fight. I can claw my way out and pull myself back toward the life I was created to live.
My life is a war. And my future is not the only thing that hangs in the balance. Just as bits and pieces of a thousand souls fighting on both sides have propelled me along the ebb and flow of the tide of my struggle, so too my fate will affect others in ways I cannot predict or imagine. The truth is I matter. The truth is we all do.
I am not in this fight alone. Thus far I have come by the help of the Lord, and on this day and in this place, I stand and raise my sword to the captain of the guard. I choose to fight! I have come to believe in the future. I believe in Hope. I believe in Living. I believe the sun has not yet risen on the noblest day. I believe the most glorious battle has yet to be fought. I believe the most beautiful song has yet to be sung.