Friday, December 26, 2014

Forecasting Futures

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me."
—Thomas Merton 
For the daughter of a future forecaster and as a professor who has designed degrees with an eye on future technologies, communications, and employment trends, this is a difficult line to swallow. Yet here I am at the end of this year and many of the most important moments in my life, I did not see coming at me.

I did not know that I would return to El Salvador. Yes we hoped to and we worked towards that end, but I thought our funding goal would be difficult to achieve in such a short timeframe. It was, but we did. And it was once again life-changing.

I did not know that I would be invited to present at MenEngage Global Symposium in India. And when there, that I would be asked to present twice. I had no idea that I would be moved by the incredible work of so many, put full trust in strangers, ride in a tuktuk or bicycle taxi, see so many beautiful and horrifying sights, travel with new friends, and be inspired.

I did not foresee that three months of this year I would be in excruciating pain and unable to walk. I did not foresee how an MRI could be a looking glass to my past and my potential future and that an epidural would take most of the the pain away in a matter of days. I would return to normalcy almost as quickly as I had been disabled.

And I did not foresee that my father would die so soon after my mother or that he would die in the painful matter that he did—and I wouldn't be by his side. I had no idea that I would be "beside" my father on his last night due to the technologies of the internet, the iPad, and Skype. I did not foresee how glad I would be that I was. And I did not know how deep and long lasting grief is.

Yet I have gone with good intentions, trust, and hope. And perhaps this is what I need. It's my hope that the upcoming year is a bit kinder, a bit easier, and failing that, that I move gracefully through. I pray for the strength and good humor to welcome whatever path I am given.
“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” 
—Thomas Merton 

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