I have always been a very rational person. I have always had the need to understand or find an explanation for why something happens or doesn't happen. Whether it be an algebra equation or an argument with a friend, I believe there has to be a solution. I have never been good at leaving a question unanswered, a book unfinished, a disagreement unsettled.
Letting life unfold or leaving things to chance is not my strong suit. We have all heard someone in our lives say to us, 'We'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Or, "Let's see what happens." There is nothing that irks me more than the wait-and-see approach to life. I want to plan, prepare and make my next move all the while creating a pretty little box with a bow, wrapping up each life experience and setting it in its place before moving on to life's next gift.
As I ponder my need for control and order, I wonder why we all feel so compelled to know what tomorrow will look like. If we had that crystal ball, wouldn't we all look? Why do we have such a difficult time living in the moment, or perhaps resigning ourselves to the idea that there is a power greater than us controlling our destiny.
Given my nature, the words destiny, fate and karma, are all a bit too abstract for me to feel comforted. I am skeptical of any idea that suggests that I do not play an active role in the outcome of my life. Yet for some reason, I am not above superstitions.
I guess if there is something beyond my realm of control, I somehow manage to retain some power… No wonder I didn't get the job, I opened the umbrella inside the house... Or, I didn't forward that chain email about the little girl dying of cancer to over twenty of my friends, no wonder this is happening to me!
Or my favorite, Ladies, I didn't shave my legs tonight, of course the only hot guy in the bar wants to take me home. Figures! (Ladies, I know I am not alone on this one. Shave your legs, and you've just ruined your shot at a chance encounter). It's just the way the universe works. It's life's way of laughing at you while you are busy making plans. So how is it that I can resort to this ridiculousness, and yet I find it difficult to believe in destiny?
Perhaps, there are some things that are just bigger than us...some things even I am unable to control or define. Life has to be about more than just coincidences, random events or whether I wore my lucky underwear to the football game each time my team won.
Remember the movie "Sliding Doors" with Gwyneth Paltrow? Her character gets fired from her job and we watch her parallel lives unfold, based on whether she made it into the tube train before the sliding doors closed. One version of her life unfolds after she just barely makes the train, while the other version, she just misses the train, altering the path of the rest of her life.
Yet in both scenarios, her 'soul mates' -- friends and lovers alike -- are met and play significant, albeit varying roles, regardless of which parallel life. She reaches the same destiny through drastically different paths.
Do all Roads Lead to Rome?
"Not until we are lost, do we begin to find"
We have all had our share of 'Sliding Door' moments. Those moments, the seemingly inconsequential everyday choices we make; some by chance, others by conscious choice, always bringing about some change. There are definitely those grandiose life choices where we weigh our options and possibly wonder 'what if?' What if I had chosen a different college? What if I had taken that other job offer? What if I had stayed in that relationship?
But what about those moments you aren't even aware of, or those that may be out of your control; the red light you ran, or deciding not to go to the gym because you were too tired, arriving somewhere earlier than anticipated, or later than expected...How would the path of your life have been altered? Do we ever really take the time to play out in our minds the ripple effect of seemingly inconsequential decisions and what became of them?
We are given these choices every day, and to some extent, the power to make them. Consciously or subconsciously, they are ours. We choose the path we take based on what we know at the time…based on our experiences, or our emotions, or our reflexes.
Daily, we take leaps of faith not knowing where the ground lies below or what may hide around the corner. Each path taken, teaches us and prepares us for the journey ahead. But what happens when we get lost, or 'miss the train?' Do all roads eventually lead to Rome, thus leaving us comforted in the unknown?
"Friends will keep you sane, Love can fill your heart, A lover can warm your bed, but lonely is the soul without a mate."
The Universe has served up such powerful moments of synchronicity, I can’t possibly subscribe to the randomness of it all. We have all had those moments when just before we are about to move across the country, we meet someone and fall in love.
Or on the last night of your uneventful vacation, you meet someone who takes your breath away in those 24 short hours of sheer bliss. And you curse the sky as daylight breaks wishing you had more time.
For me, it was just as a friend and I were deliberating a change of scenery to another party, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a familiar smile. And in that instant, life would never be the same. But that's the funny thing about timing -- or the combination of fate and those inconsequential choices -- it has nothing to do with love. No matter how many times you fall in love, it always comes at you sideways.
Has there ever been that one person that you keep running into unintentionally -- at the most random of places? Or have you ever had that feeling of knowing instantly upon meeting someone that they are supposed to be in your life?
Like you have known them forever; as if there is some undefined, unexplainable connection that would exist in any place, at any time that you met this person? Like a glove that fits perfectly, or two pieces of a puzzle connecting, you suddenly feel home.
Whether it be a friend or a lover, a true soul mate is like looking in the mirror...the person who shows you everything that is holding you back and brings you to attention filling a vacancy you never even knew existed. With a palpable energy that radiates the space between you, there's an inadvertent glow as if you are being lit up from the inside. It can literally bring you to life. And in that moment, you and fate have introduced yourself.
Then there are those you love no matter what; no matter how many times they have hurt you. No matter how long it's been since you felt them in the morning...the kind of love that follows your heart no matter where you go, or with whom you fall in love, or how many years in between.
You can pick up after years of distance, as if just moments have elapsed...but because of choices you have made, or paths you have taken, or the utter inconvenience of timing, you may hold up your hand as if to say 'I can't,' because life and time have changed you.
But then you think what if...?
“I knew it like destiny, and at the same time, I knew it as choice."
Occasionally I find myself wondering what if and peeking behind the curtain that leads to my parallel life stemming from a certain choice I once made. In a bizarre way, my experience is not simply the mind wanderings of innocent wonder.
At certain moments, I feel like I am really there, in this alternate life, watching from a distance, knowing how things will play out. I feel a slight longing and a twinge of nostalgia and start to feel tears well up in my eyes. Then I see her smile.
And I think to myself, I'll see you in Rome.
Who knows what tomorrow will look like, but our hope is that it will always be better than today. For me, believing in destiny is simply having hope. As Orson Wells once said, "a happy ending depends on where you stop your story." I say, 'If it's not happy, then it's not the end.'
Rachel Jablow | Elite.