Last week, we reflected on the past and how our view of it affects our present. We revealed that each of our pasts extends beyond ourselves, born of a combination of all those who have gone before us. That was the easy part.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. From the past we reap many lessons and levels of understanding. It might require some digging, but the past is nothing if not known. The future, on the other hand, frustrates even the most carefree spirit with its inability to be grasped and mastered.

Though many have tried to divine it, the future remains largely unknowable. The very reality of that great unknown breeds anticipation, which, in turn, manifests in two forms: fear and hope.

One of my favorite scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies comes midway through The Two Towers. Just before the battle of Helm’s Deep, Aragorn encounters a young-boy-turned-soldier who voices the fear of the entire camp. “The men are saying that we will not live out the night,” he admits. “They say that it is hopeless.” Aragorn reacts by swinging the boy’s sword in earnest, testing its worth. Returning it to the boy he states, “This is a good sword, Háleth, son of Háma.” Then, leaning close and placing one hand on the boy’s shoulder, he adds, “There is always hope.”

Fear and hope often coexist, trepidation and expectation, side by side. Both are appropriate reactions to the mystery of the future. The presence of one does not negate the presence of the other, though one may, at times, overwhelm the other. And this, I believe, is where we come to a choice. In times of both darkness and light, we maintain the inherent right to govern our own minds. The tyranny of the urgent will rule our lives if we let it. So don’t.

Choose hope. When you wake in the morning, choose hope. When you lay down at night, choose hope. Whether you face trials and tribulations or celebrations and exhortations, choose hope.

Fear is an option, but it is not our only option. There is always hope.

Today was once tomorrow and will soon be yesterday. Remember it. Anticipate it. Live it. It’s your life. It’s your choice.

What will you choose?