08 October 2010

Kiss Kismet Goodbye

Fate is an interesting concept. But does fate or cosmic kismet actually determine our destiny or the final outcome of events? Are we really "destined" to do one thing or another--or can/does individual agency influence what we call fate?

I wonder if sometimes it's too easy to abdicate personal responsibility for our lives and call it "fate." When we claim that the sequence of events was "out of my control," are we actually saying, "It was too difficult for me to keep trying"?

I'm indicting myself by these questions.

When I am pushed beyond my limits, I have a tendency to push back and to give up. I wither like the poor plant in my house that I forget to water, and I retreat to the "safe place" of self-deception--a place where I convince myself that pursuing my desire is a fool's errand and I already have too much on my "to do" list to waste time on something I cannot achieve. (What kind of nonsense is THAT?!)

Then my mantra becomes "why bother." Why bother trying, I ask, if I'm only going to fail? The problem with the "why bother" is that this apathy infects my vision of myself and everything else I'm trying to accomplish in my life, including getting out of bed in the morning. Apathy leads to despair and hopelessness.

There is a cure for apathy and fatalistic thinking: hope and action. There is no kiss of kismet to keep us drowning in the quicksand if we use our agency to try. When all we can do is reach out to God, even if that is simply by admitting we are drowning and can't save ourselves, God will run to us and save us. I've experienced this wonderful miracle time and again--and yet, in the most dire circumstances, I seem to develop spiritual amnesia and forget that the Lord's help is even on the menu of choices. Thankfully, He helps me remember: through a gentle, patient friend; by the peace I feel amidst extreme turmoil; through small and simple words of someone I don't know that lead to the "aha" I need to "come to myself."

I am grateful for the Lord's patience with me as I learn to use my agency well -- and for His forgiveness when I chose to abdicate. He is with me in all choices, good or bad, and helps me remember that I don't have to be perfect, a reminder I need on a daily basis. The only destiny I have is the one I choose...and I choose to follow Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, wherever that path leads me.

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