Monday, January 04, 2016

No one knows the day or hour

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (Mt 24:36).

There are various analogies for the two-natures of Christ. Recently I dug through a suitcase in the closet. Turns out it had a shirt I hadn't worn for about three years. And in the shirt pocket was a sales slip for a hamburger joint I used to frequent.

My mind instantly went back in time. I can vividly visualize where I was on that day. I recall, in a general sense, what it was like to be there on that day–almost if I stepped into the time machine. I'm conscious of what I was conscious of back then.

However, this being the computer age, the sales slip not only had the name of the business, but a time stamp with the exact date–down to the hour and the minute. And when I saw the date, I thought of something else. I mentally compared that with something which happened about a year later. Thirteen months later, I lost a close relative. 

At the time of the transaction, I was oblivious to that future eventuality. But when I see the receipt, I'm mentally comparing two different dates. I'm simultaneously looking forward and backward in time. I'm conscious of what I didn't know, and conscious of what I now know. My viewpoint is simultaneously retrospective and prospective. 

I can look at that sales slip and mentally go back in time to that particular day. To what I knew and didn't know at the time. I'm aware of what I was aware of. Cognizant of my ignorance regarding what would happen thirteen months later. I can project myself into that mental state. I know what it was like not to know it. 

Hindsight is belated foresight. And I can imagine how it would affect my outlook if I knew then what I know now. When I see that receipt, I have two different viewpoints: before the momentous event 13 months later, and after the momentous event. I have access to both first-person points of view. Both are mine. In looking back, I remember what it was like to look ahead. In this case, one viewpoint is embedded in the other. 

It's as if I was standing in that parking lot, out of sight, watching my younger self. Knowing what I didn't know. Tempted to walk up to my younger self, tap him on the shoulder, and tip him off. "I've come back to you (me) from the future. This is what to expect!"

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