There’s a very popular app that connects with social media called Time Hop. Every day it will remind you of a post or a picture you posted on the same day last year or even several years back. It gives me a wave of nostalgia every time but it also allows me some ridiculously poignant perspective.
Definition: perspective (noun) per spek tiv 1. A technique of depicting volumes of spatial relationships on a flat surface. 2. A picture employing this technique especially one in where this is prominent i.e. an architect’s perspective on a drawing. 3. The interrelation of which a subject and its parts are mentally viewed. 4. The capacity to view things in their true relations and relative importance.
Last weekend I played three masses. When I hear the readings three times in a row my feelings toward the characters change from the initial reading to the last. As Mark 8:27-35 tells the story of Peter recognizing Jesus as the Messiah my thoughts about the apostle Peter run the gamut over the course of the three masses.
A reminder of the story: Jesus asked his disciples “Who do you think I am?“. The disciples answer a myriad of ways, but it is Peter who says “You are the Messiah.“. Jesus then goes on to explain that Peter is indeed correct, but that Jesus as the Messiah will have to suffer and die. Peter cannot wrap his head around this tragedy and begins to rebuke Jesus. Jesus says to Peter “Get behind me Satan!”.
At one moment Peter is probably feeling like he’s at the head of the class. Of all twelve disciples he seems to be the only one to understand who Jesus really is. What a wonderful feeling that must’ve been! But it is short-lived. Peter is only human, and when he hears about what awaits the savior of the world he wants to do something about it. Just like any compassionate human he wants to stop what he sees as a tragic and painful ending to what appears to be a promising future. What a blow it must have been to his self esteem to hear that his good intentions are an action on behalf of no one other than Satan!
Imagine if Peter were to have 21st-century technology back then. A few years later he would be reminded of this conversation with Jesus. He receives his own Time Hop after the crucifixion and resurrection retelling his hurt feelings and how confused he was at the time of the rebuking. Perhaps he has already performed a few of his own miracles after receiving the Holy Spirit. Years later his perspective would have completely changed because his understanding of it is clearer due to his experience.
Today my time hop reminded me that I was about to start a new job six years ago. I was excited and hopeful about this new endeavor. Hopping back in time, I can see that this job didn’t actually pan out the way I thought it might. Initially it was the wrong job. It caused me both mental stress and physical illness. However, it ended up being the gateway to a job I have now that I love with the same company.
I stayed in that first job for four years. I had to stop and trust God that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Even when I knew that the job was completely wrong for me and was taking a physical and mental toll on me, I prayed. This prayer afforded me the confidence that there was a reason I was there even if I did not understand it.
I don’t want to give the impression that prayer was like a magic wand that sprinkled good feelings and peace over me like pixie dust. This was hard. I must have written three resignation letters that I never sent. I questioned, I cursed, I continued to get sick, and I was very grouchy. Like Peter, I didn’t have the perspective to understand that there were circumstances that needed to play out both in my own life and within the company to allow everything to fall in place to be where I am today.
Time hopping along with Peter’s admonition from Jesus is a good reminder for me to take the emotional aspect of today’s experiences with a grain of salt and put more stock in a long term vision I might not be privy to. There is a lot to be said about trusting that vision and knowing that the creator of my future has an understanding of where it is going that is beyond mortal comprehension. It’s not a matter of needing or wishing that I can grasp the future, it’s being secure in the fact that I don’t have to because it’s already taken care of.