A look into the future

Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Dawn Cribbs

We have an M&M candy dispenser in the breakroom at the Gazette where, for 25 cents, you can get a small handful of M&Ms, plain and peanut.

My co-workers get a kick out of how I dole out my quarter's worth of candy. I line them up by color, then eat them, one at a time, in order most to least, so that by the time I reach the end of the candy rainbow, I have one of each color left.

Though I tried to explain it as a stall tactic to keep myself from inhaling the candy in one big bite, they were unconvinced, so I added a new twist.

Based on the number of red, green and yellow candies dispensed, I discern a forecast for my day.

Lots of green ones mean go-go-go.

More yellow than green -- go-but go slow.

More red than yellow -- Stop and proceed only with great caution.

Today there were no green ones. Guess I should have stayed home in bed.

It's simple foolishness, serving no purpose other than to amuse my co-workers and to keep me from gobbling the handful of candy in one fell swoop.

There are times when each of us would like to have just a quick peek into the future, especially when faced with a life-altering decision. Should I accept this job? Do we buy this house? Should we move to Timbuktu? Should I marry him? Should I marry her? What will the future be?

A television commercial for the Psychic Hotline, seldom seen today, never failed to get my ire up. Though it stated that it was "for entertainment purposes only," I have learned that there is danger there. And there is scriptural warning against inquiring of soothsayers, fortune tellers and the like. (Leviticus 19:31)

Certainly, there are a multitude of possible theological, supernatural explanations for avoiding soothsayers, mediums and the like. I know that there is spirit world, hidden from human sight. The scary part comes in with the knowing that not all of the spirits are spirits of light. We are warned of those spirits who masquerade as angels of light, intent however on doing us harm. Eschewing the spirit world and those who live there is a good first line of defense against undo influences from the dark side of this existence.

The warning is not without practical logic as well. Many years ago, my mother-in-law frequented a fortune teller for several months. I've no idea why she felt compelled to do so, perhaps it was for entertainment, or perhaps she really felt a need to know what direction she should take with her life.

In any case, during one of their sessions, the fortune teller made a prediction about me. At the time, Ben was our only child and we despaired of having more. Furthermore, we had recently moved to Brighton, Colo., and my heart was lonesome for Worland, Wyo., and the friends we had made there. To the prediction -- the fortune teller saw me with a baby wrapped in a pink blanket and living "somewhere north again," finally content.

Mom shared the prediction with me. It came as a complete surprise. I thought I was content. I was excited about the baby and hoped that part was true. Lisa's birth within the next year or so helped to affirm the prediction. I don't know how many years it took me to shake the notion that my happiness was somehow tied up in the north, unavailable to me where I was.

A favorite form of entertainment at "After-Prom" in Brighton were the palm readers. I strongly discouraged the kids from visiting that particular booth. However, Patrick, true to form, could not resist checking it out. Informed by the palm reader that his lifeline was short, he engaged in some fairly reckless behaviors for a time, determined to squeeze everything out of life that he could before it ended.

Though still young (only 23 this year) he is the father of two, and thankfully, has settled down enormously over the past few years.

The two anecdotes prove how easily our minds are influenced. Though I didn't hear either prediction firsthand my thought processes were influenced by both predictions. Of course, only God knows the number of days assigned to Patrick. He is learning, despite the undue influence of an alleged palm reader, to live each day to the best of his ability, to keep an eye open for glimpses of God and to trust the future always and only to God. And I discovered contentment where I was.

There is one instance of future sight that is precious to my heart. For I believe that on a long ago day, when the Savior prayed, "Father, forgive" he was looking down that long corridor of time where he saw my face. This is the truth that sustains me as I wander through this present reality, sometimes content, sometimes -- not.

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:10 (NIV)

-- Dawn Cribbs no longer waits for contentment to come to her, but seeks a heart willing to be content each day.

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