Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fate or Pre-Destination?

I’m in a pondering mood. As my oldest son travels home from the Persian Gulf and I prepare to watch my youngest son graduate from Basic Training, I’m awash with memories of their childhoods and the road my life has taken while paralleling all four of my children’s lives.

Fate is a fascinating mystery, one that stupefies me. Do you believe in pre-destination? Do you believe that our lives are mapped out in the book of life as we are formed in our mother’s wombs (Psalms) and that a higher being knows who we are and what we’ll do before we ever inhale our first breath?

• Had I been born to any other parents, I would never have lived in the places I’ve lived, met people of different cultures or grown to understand that our earth is a very small place, that we all seek some sort of enlightenment and speak the same language, even though we can’t understand what’s being said. (This is where empathy is important; time taken to listen should be our focus and the term ‘putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes’ deserves our utmost attention.)

• If I’d never gone to a disco on a specific night with a particular friend, I might never have met the man who swept me off my feet. (Does almost going on a blind date six months before verify that fate is ever-present?)

• Should I have married a different man and planted roots in one place right away, my children would not have been born in two different countries and two different states and they would not have been given the education they received. Would that have changed their outlook on life? Would it have changed mine?

• If I had refused to volunteer my time to sponsor field trips, benefit local fundraisers, act as a liaison for various organizations or offer my time and talents to my church, I would also have missed out on the relationships I’ve developed through the ministry of helping my fellow man, no matter what the need.

• Never let it be said that volunteering leads nowhere. There is great satisfaction in giving your time to a worthy cause. And time spent giving to others often returns to the giver ten-fold. Who knew that all this volunteering served to pad my resume and help me get a great part-time job? Never discount your time.

• Jacob’s ladder was long, ever-reaching toward heaven. Each rung I step upon on the ladder of life leads me to closer to my fate. But without physically putting my foot in the first rung, then the next, and the next, I cannot climb, nor will I reach my destination.

We are formed by our surroundings, molded by our families. Sculpted like potter’s clay, we are formed in the likeness first imagined by the sculptor of our lives, one who plotted the book, knows the protagonists, villains, every single bit player/secondary character we have met, will meet and will ever meet. There is a cultural soundtrack for each of us, a lyrical composition to guide us on our path, if we take the time to listen in the stillness. Even Michelangelo is known to have said that with each piece of marble, each statue encouraged him to chisel out its brilliant form. Listen...

Have you ever wondered why someone you’ve never met suddenly blesses you with a compliment? Does a smile from a stranger or someone you know raise you up from the doldrums instantaneously? That is fate. The miracle of life plotted in the book, created/written before we were born.

I have a recurring dream. Through a nightmarish process too boring to mention, I end up on a cruise ship. I’m ordered to put on my best evening dress and am escorted to stand next to the ship’s captain. There on the deck, my captor speaks to me about life. Then, without fully understanding, I follow a pointed finger where I'm lead to gaze upon a mountain where every single person I’ve ever known, have met, and will meet (family member, childhood schoolmate, deceased relative, future acquaintances, you name it) wave at me, greeting me with the passion befitting a queen.

Strange, isn’t it? Or is it? Wednesdays are great days to ponder the week you’ve already lived and the rest of the week to come. As writers we are given a challenge with each book to write from the heart and stroke the heartstrings of readers.

Do you believe that everything you do or have done has been guided by fate? If you are a writer, as you sit and craft a book, plotting the outcome of your characters, have you ever wondered if someone was doing that for you, via you?

Take time to sit in the stillness. Listen to the melodious soundtrack playing in your chest and let your heart reveal its passion. Destiny is for the believer, the one confident enough to accept the plotted road by the author who wishes us every success.


  1. You know Kathy, you put me in a tenuous spot this morning. I am not much of a philosopher and I try not to dwell on things that hurt my head (my philosophy professor in college would just shake his head at me). I believe in free will with a caveat. I think what happens to us is a result of choices we make but we get to make those choices because we are allowed to do so. Circuitous? Maybe...I made choices that have led me to a wonderful life, with a wonderful man, and I do not regret one moment. I like the idea that things are wide open for me and I get to decide. Makes me feel better to think I am the captain of my ship. PIRATE!

  2. Hey everybody - Kathy is on her way to her son's graduation from Basic training! Wonderful news! We under the magnolia tree are so very proud of him!!! AND Kathy's oldest son just arrived safely from Qatar!!!! Double bonus for today!!!! Yea!! Good news all around!

  3. I love this post. It's thoughtful and poses an interesting question. Do I believe in fate? Yes.I do believe fate brought a Dutch girl to meet an American man and marry him. I think sometimes it is easier to look back at the touch points of our lives and understand why things unraveled the way they did. The older I get, the greater my faith becomes in that I've been through some stuff, survived, thrived, and can do so again. But I don't believe I was ever alone. Even in my darkest hours. Especially in my darkest hours. That's when I believe God truly intervened for me, because I did have a choice. I could have chosen a wrong path due to the demon of doubt and the devil of despair. But I believe the power that formed me, knit me together, had plans for me--stopped the demon and the devil from winning. And they fought hard. My story isn't pretty or easy, but I am a stronger woman for it. I believe that there were people praying for me all through my life, even when I didn't know how to pray or who to pray to. Those prayers saved me.

    And that's my testimony in a nutshell.

  4. I don't think we are alone Christine. I truly believe we have help in our lives. I just think He lets us make our choices - either good or bad. We learn from them and that makes us a stronger.

    And, what a wonderful story! You have prevailed and have become a fantastic writer! We are so glad you are with us now!!!

  5. Christine you've revealed exactly what I mean when I say there is some sort of pre-destination in our fates. I'm constantly fascinated by how God works in other peoples lives in order to have them intersect with our own.
    A smiling stranger can prevent thoughts of suicide. A kind act can reinstate a person's belief that they are not alone in this world.

    We do have free will but we're also given direction by a great map-tician who cares for each and every one of us, gifting us with unique talents.

    Love is the greatest gift and to be able to provide stories that exemplify love is a great calling. I'm so grateful that I've answered that call because fate had led me to Okay, LIsten Here, and each and every one of you.

  6. I do not believe in predestination. I believe that freedom of choice is how God set us apart from other living creatures. I am convinced that God puts our chances for happiness and success in our paths and what we do with it is up to us. The more we pray, the luckier we get.

    And, truly, today is a blessed day. Kathy's sons' success and safety are prayers answered!

    September 22, 2010 10:26 AM

  7. I know it will surprise no one that I agree with Jean. :-) I don't believe in predestination.

    I believe that the stranger who is kind is also making a choice based on his/her free will.

    Kathy, I enjoyed the post. You are such a deep thinking. I couldn't help but laugh when I thought about what the "melodious soundtrack playing in your chest" would sound like if I could get still. I think my soundtrack would be more like a Clash (British Punk Rock Band) than anything.

    Offering my prayers of thanksgiving for your family's safe travels, reunions and homecomings!

  8. Yes, we do have a choice, but I often wonder where that choice comes from and that is what is interesting to me. I don't think I ever gave up free will otherwise I would not have been in the pickles I found myself. However, if I see that mom wrestling a screaming child while driving a cartload of groceries to her vehicle I can choose to follow what I KNOW is right or not. So yeah, I have free will, but I am like Kathy a bit, I don't want to go against my innate desire to do the right thing. If I do, what then?

  9. I guess I always thought of fate and predestination as the same thing. Or at least as kissing cousins. >.> They're a little on the nebulous side for me as a concept. But I throw my hat into the Biblical ring as far as this sort of thing goes, so that means I take God at His word. Jeremiah 29:11 played on repeat in my brain many a time in my darkest days -- sometimes as a promise, and other times (I thought) a taunt. Now that I'm a parent, I'm pretty sure I understand it a heck of a lot better.

    So God says He's has a plan, and I believe it. I'm built to do -something- that holds eternal value, the results of which I may never get to fully see or comprehend in my brief corporeal existence. The biblical thing also leads me to conclude that I get to either choose His plan, or do my own thing. After all, God wanted us to be children, not slaves. And fortunately there's that grace thing, so while I can and have been known to pull a Jonah and run in the opposite direction of what I know I should be doing... it's never too late to pull a 180 and get back on 'the plan' wagon.

    Now, I don't necessarily think that God wants to micromanage every minute aspect of my life. I don't wait for a sign to decide if I should have coffee or orange juice in the morning. But on the big stuff, I can look back and see every place where things not going according to my plan worked out astonishingly well. Case in point... up until last year I was running from my writing gift. I never felt smart enough or ready enough to handle the rejection and criticism, let alone the work I knew would have to go into the process. But now I see how God dropped so many people and situations into my path to keep steering me back to it. For Jonah, it took impending doom, 3 days of solitary confinement, and something about whale vomit to get him back on track. I'm rather tickled that the final straw to me giving in to my calling came in the form of overhearing Christine discussing her writing goals for the year in the cafe of Barns & Noble. >.> Exceedingly more pleasant, as turning points go. :D