Four Little Words

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I wrote in my journal a couple of weeks ago these four words and then made a spiral around them:

Before
Then
Now
Next

I vaguely knew what was simmering on the back-burners of my mind, but I went on and lived my life for awhile without giving them much more thought . . . until this morning. When I went back there to check on them, they had melded into one and now, fully integrated, look very much to me like this journey we call life—the events that spin us around and cause us to take note, or take a new route, or take us off track. There was this life we were living “before” which is no longer; “then” something happens; “now” we have to face it or ignore it or take action. This now time is the most important step in the cycle, this spiral . . . for the “now” determines the “next.”

I haven’t always known this. As a young woman, I leap-frogged from one “then” to another without time or wisdom or counsel to do anything else. I was not without conscience, just without maturity, without wisdom, without help. And yet, here I am . . . in a “now time” looking back at my leap-frogged path, and I see a pattern. If I look carefully, I would see . . . I would see . . . what would I see?

I have been thinking about writing a birthday address to the family that is   gathering for Thanksgiving this year – which happens two days before my birthday. And I had thought of using those four words to encourage the next generation—my children, my grands, my greats and those yet to be born—to be more intentional in their “now times,” to apprehend that even the smallest decision has such a ripple-out effect upon those that are near and those that are far away.

Maybe this is my birthday address. Maybe it is.

Andrea