Is there such a thing as fate? Does the Universe “know” how our lives will turn out… before they even begin? Do we all have a destiny that is set in stone? Or do our choices impact what happens, even if we have a certain amount of destiny built into our life lines from the get-go?
And what about the idea that everything happens for a reason?
If you are anything like most people—yours truly included–the idea of fate or destiny is a pretty hard concept to wrap our brains around.
I’ve been thinking about this idea of “fate” — this idea that everything in your life, good, bad or otherwise, happens for a reason– pretty hardcore over the past couple of days. Certain events in my life personally, as well as the tragic events that occurred in Paris last week have caused me to reevaluate some things. I used to whole-heartedly believe that God has this incredible plan for each and every one of us, a plan that he and only he knows. And to some effect I still do believe that.
The thing my head and heart are struggling with right now is whether or not everything that happens, happens for a purpose, for a greater meaning beyond what we can see, judge, know or even guess. Growing up I was steadfast in thinking that this was true. I didn’t make the play in sixth grade because I was “meant” to be on the track team instead. That LBD I
wanted drooled over so badly was out of stock because I was “meant” to buy it three days later when it was back in stock–and on sale! A relationship ended because I was “meant” to find a guy who was even more incredible.
All of these things at the time and in the moment seemed like the end of the world. Okay, not necessarily the end of the world, but they were a blow, a let down, a disappointment. We face these kinds of situations every day. It’s just a part of life. It’s what makes us human. We make decisions, we face obstacles and rejection, we get hurt. And it sucks like a vacuum. By believing that there is a greater purpose for these kinds of things happening, a broken heart, a missed opportunity or anything that causes us some kind of pain, it’s sort of a comfort. It gives us something to hope for, to take solace in. And I definitely think that’s okay. If there is something that can help us get over a negative experience faster and easier, I am all for it. Having faith not only provides you with hope, but a certain strength and courage to keep going.
With all of the above experiences that I described, each one turned out for the best. I found my niche in running (and realized I was a horrible actress–like, all of the worst), I nailed down that little black dress for half price, and I realized that there was an even greater person out there for me. If these things wouldn’t have happened, I may have found a silver lining, but I also might not have.
So did these things happen for a reason?
The seed that’s planting some doubt deals with when horrible, devastating, unthinkable events happen to innocent, incredible, loving and big-hearted people. Why did that four-year old boy so full of life get cancer? Why did the dad who was driving to his daughter’s dance recital die in that car crash, when the drunk driver who caused the wreck walked off without a scratch? What could possibly have been the greater meaning for the hundreds of people, men, women and children, who lost their lives in the attacks on Paris last week? Or September 11th? Or the shootings that have occurred in schools all over the country over the last few years?
I am a very positive person. I am. I always try to look on the bright side of things, to think of the ice cream bowl as half full. I so desperately want to see the good in people, in the world. But when something as sad and senseless as the above happens, I have an incredibly hard time finding that silver lining.
I don’t have any answers to these questions; I am not quite sure what I think about fate and whether or not it exists (and if it does, to what extent). Does everything happen for a reason? I’m not sure. What I do know is that we each come into this life to learn, to grow, to succeed and to fail, and as such, we have choice! But, there are things we’ve chosen to experience, and to learn from, that are also built into the fabric of our lives. I guess the fate or destiny we create, the meaning behind every experience and action, is what we do when those choices present themselves.
Nothing is set in stone. We each have free choice. That is the beauty of being alive. I am choosing to share this information with you right now. You are choosing to read it.
There may be a certain amount of fate and/or destiny behind both of those decisions.
But – it’s what we ACTUALLY do with the information, the lessons learned and the challenges overcome… that is the important part, and what ultimately defines and decides our futures. If we can take anything away from these tragedies is that it brings people together more than ever, it unites us, it makes us take a look at our lives and realize that every minute we have together, every second is not guaranteed. We need to live for the now, live every damn breath as if it were our last. Losing a job, the ending of a relationship or a missed connection? All of these give you an opportunity to try something new, to discover a better and more amazing side of yourself or others. It can be scary as hell, but it can also be the catalyst for something pretty damn incredible.
A silver lining.
So go after that dream, order dessert first, be kind, and always let those closest to you know how much you care and love them.
Not everything may happen for a reason, but you can most certainly be the reason for someone’s smile. 🙂
Question of the day: Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?