20/20 at 50/50

It has been said that hindsight is 20/20, that events are more fully known and better understood only after they have occurred. We are not able to change the past. However, insights on the past can give us foresight on the future. We plan and prepare in the present for an anticipated outcome more to our liking.


This is the stuff of coaches and trainers. This is the stuff of strategists and planners. This is the stuff of data analysis and logistics. This is the stuff of algorithms and amortizations.


But is this the stuff of life? Can we adequately quantify life events from the past to formulate and control a predictable future? What about unknown factors? What about human free will and the human capacities for faith, hope, and love?


My 20/20 at 20/50, for example, is less than adequate to accurately predict all my own life’s future nuances. This summer, my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. And this fall, I will celebrate my 50th birthday. These are important milestones. Nevertheless, my 20/20 hindsight does not make me a marriage and longevity expert in perfect control of my future.


We can learn from yesterday – but we are not able to change the past. We can look forward to tomorrow – but we do not control the future. We can live for today – living fully in the moment with the divine gifts of faith, hope, and love.



Ch O


Chaplain, (Maj.) John O’Brien

115th Fighter Wing Chaplain Corps

Truax Field, Madison, WI

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