Thoughts on Trajectory

I spent part of this past weekend babysitting some friends' kids.  Or, well, not babysitting.  As both I and their oldest son described it at various times, I was mostly there to hang out with them and make sure they didn't burn the house down or kill each other.  At some point during our time together, I realized that the first time I was ever in their house was in February.  You know, like this past February.  Just over nine months ago.  I sat on their couch at a birthday party, incredibly jetlagged, trying not to fall asleep and struggling between the desires to eat the delicious cake they had and feeling like I was about to die from sugar overload.

Since then I've spent uncounted hours hanging out in their house, slept on the couch more than a few times, eaten many meals around their table.  (This could be a story of how grateful I am for unexpected friendships, but that's for another time.)

Photo by Kurt Cotoaga on Unsplash

And as I considered -- nine months, really that's not that long -- I thought about trajectory.  At a meeting on Friday, we were talking about a chapter from Good News for Anxious Christians and how God transforms us slowly, generally, about Eugene Peterson's brilliant phrase "a long obedience in the same direction."  There's deep truth to that.  Day to day, my life usually doesn't feel like it changes all that much or all that significantly.  I sleep, I eat, I do my work, I talk to my people, I check the weather, I pay bills, I read Scripture, I revel in the outside world and complain about the weather.  Most of life is... ordinary. 

Yet only a few months -- comprised of such very ordinary days -- adds up to a lifetime that is full of crazy shifts and profound plot twists.  My day-to-day normal life right now is extremely different than it was nine months ago.  Five months ago. 

The longer I live, the more appreciation I have for the cultivation of habits and character, probably because the more I can see how a very small difference in choice of trajectory makes a vast difference over time.  My mental image is of the space vessels NASA sends up.  If I walk in a crooked line across the street, I'll still get to the college.  If a Mars rover's course is a few degrees off and uncorrected, it wouldn't end up on the right planet.  I've seen memes floating around posing the inconsistency of the assumption that with time machines, we might go back in history and do something minor that would change everything, yet we don't often think about how our small choices now impact the future in ways we can't anticipate, ripples flowing out from our lives into eternity. 

Comments

  1. Art and architecture have this in common: they require design and expertise. (and what better thought than a Master planner?)
    Random trajectory? I think not. ;)

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