Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday's Words for June 17, 2009

Do you believe in fate? In destiny?

I’m of two minds on this topic. First, I do believe that there are discernable patterns in life. You’ve got that natural law about sowing and reaping, and the more ‘scientific’ version called cause and effect. You also have this covered in mathematics with your if/then statements.

There are specific things in life that, if you do them, specific results will occur. That is why as parents we often say no to our children, or caution them against certain behaviours. Because life has taught us that certain actions bring certain consequences.

I’m not as sure I believe in destiny and fate as meaning that our lives are all mapped out for us, and we have but to live each day because it’s all been determined beforehand. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in God. It’s just that I have difficulty reconciling the “everything has been pre-determined” school of thought with His having gifted us with free will.

But every once in a while something happens that gives me pause.

You’re all aware of the tragic flight of Air France 447. As is often the case when these horrible events occur, there are a few silver linings, or miracles, if you will, usually in the form of people who missed the flight and therefore are alive.

According to news sources that I read this past week, one such couple was vacationing, from Italy, and then missed their flight home—the doomed Air France 447. So the next day this couple took another flight back to Europe. They landed and rented a car to drive home. On the drive, they had an automobile accident. The wife was killed, the husband hospitalized.

When my husband saw the story he said, with utter confidence, “See? When your time is up, your time is up.”

I wonder how many people believe that?

Certainly an element of fatalism finds popular expression in society today. It brings to mind two t-shirts I’ve seen this past week: one declares, “In a hundred years it won’t make any difference,” and the other, which always gives me a bit of a chuckle, “Eat right. Exercise regularly. Die anyway.”

I wonder if my being an author has an influence on my tendency to think that not much is really written in stone. Yes, there’s a world of difference between creating a separate reality in fiction and the living of life. But because I try to make the actions of my characters match their personalities, and because I study people, I really do believe that ultimate outcomes are vastly influenced by choice.

“Yes,” my husband tells me, “but maybe the one thing that is written in stone is our expiration date.”

That might very well be so. Maybe that is the only thing that has been predetermined. But you have to wonder at the very capriciousness of fate sometimes, if that is the case. Survive one horrific accident to succumb to another days later. Life imitates art? I think there’ve been a couple of movies along that theme.

For the most part, I choose not to dwell on what may already have been decided. If I’m scheduled to depart anytime soon, I really don’t want to know about it.

I just want to keep on doing my thing, day after day, and hope for a little love, and a little laughter along the way.

And if I’m lucky, I might even get it.

Feed the flames of your passion…with a novel by Morgan Ashbury

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