Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Jan. 5, 2020.
In a film based on H.G. Wells’ classic novel “The Time Machine,” one of the main characters comments: “We all have our time machines, don’t we? Those that take us back are memories, and those that carry us forward are dreams.” (See “The Time Machine,” by David Duncan and John Logan, published in 2002)
It’s an interesting way to look at life. Our memories, in a sense, allow us to revisit those moments in the past that have shaped us, taught us and made us who we are. And our dreams point us forward and keep us focused and striving on what we want to become. Without memories, our lives have no foundation; without dreams, they have no direction. Memories and dreams give us stability in an unstable world.
But then, sometimes our memories are not all that pleasant. Most of us have moments in our past to which we’d rather not travel, memories we’d just as soon leave in the past. But even the painful memories can serve a purpose — they can teach us to be compassionate to others in pain or keep us from repeating our mistakes. When our memories do take us back in time, the key is to not to stay there but to let our visit teach us, remind us, even inspire us and carry us forward.
Recently, a man returned to a city where he had lived through some difficult experiences many years ago. Walking those streets and seeing those once-familiar places was painful — but also gratifying. He saw how his experiences in that place had led him to the much happier place where he now was.
And then there are times when it’s the future that we’d rather not visit. The future, by nature, is uncertain and undefined. That’s why we need dreams. Our dreams give shape and hope to the future. And yes, our dreams sometimes go unfulfilled, but we keep dreaming, allowing our dreams to teach us, remind us, even inspire us and carry us forward.
Actual time travel exists only in science fiction, but memories and dreams can help us appreciate the past and embrace the future. If we hold on to those memories that strengthen us and to those dreams that empower us, the past and the future can give meaning to the present.
Tuning in …
The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, ksl.com, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoiratTempleSquare and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org/schedules.