Do you believe in fate?
See, that totally depends on how deep you want to go with it. Technically, no, I don’t believe in fate, when you look at the definition. But it depends on how you want to read “the supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events.” I completely believe in predestination, that God has a plan and has set things in motion, knows what’s going to happen, etc. I know a lot of people have a problem with that, think it affects their free will and all, as well as just find it a hard pill to swallow. It all works out in my head though, and I’ve never been able to explain it to someone else in a way that they understand. I still make my own choices – I have no idea what God has planned, am not just following a path blindly – but also think I’m being guided, that there are circumstances beyond my control that He uses (either good or bad, it all changes who I am, hopefully for the better). I can’t believe in a God who doesn’t care enough about His creation to take an incredibly active role in its outcome. Why bother? As much as some people have a problem with predestination, this belief has gotten me through some incredibly difficult times that I don’t know how I would have gotten through otherwise.
Yes, my parents’ divorce sucked, and I don’t think that God planned that (here’s where the whole predestination/foreknowledge thing gets wonky, so if it doesn’t make sense, don’t worry, because I don’t usually explain it well) so much as just knew the choices my parents would make, and used that event to shape who I was becoming, my view on relationships, some relationships I had at the time, and my commitment to certain basic principles.
Yes, the whole church thing in Michigan was horrible, to be so naive and innocent and fully believe in a rosy future, and then have it be torn away, to watch people I loved be hurt by others’ cruel words and actions, to know I had to pick up and start over again. But God used that too. I don’t think he chose for those people to act the way they did, but He knew the situation and He knew me and He knew them, and I think He brought me there to be a friend to some, a force for good to (against) others, and as a way of strengthening my own resolve and identity as a person.
And I’d love to think that God had no idea what was going to happen with that church that remains nameless, that if He did he would have protected me from all that pain, from the years of bitterness and feeling wholly inadequate, from being fearful when I glanced at a stranger who looked familiar or heard a voice, from relationships that ended without any sort of closure at all (for the kids as much as myself). But where would I be had I not gone through that? Yes, there have been some negative effects, like how I find it really hard to trust people now and second-guess my own judgment more than I used to, but I think I’m right where I should be in life (despite any complaints I may make to the contrary). I love that I live so close to Alison, that while I don’t have many friends I have quality friends, that Minnesota feels more like home than Michigan and Illinois do (though Illinois will always be more familiar). And though there were definitely some bad parts of my jobs in Arizona and my last Church, I built some great relationships and learned about myself.
So I have a hard time playing the blame game with God, as if He is completely responsible for other people. I make my own choices, don’t hold God responsible when I mess up, and other people make their own choices too, regardless of how wrong I may think they are or how harmful they turn out. Maybe it’s Pollyanna of me, but that’s how I see it. Sure, with a wild imagination, I’m sure that all those positive effects could have been brought about through other (perhaps less painful) situations, but who am I to question the way God does things? I might be arrogant, but I don’t need to be hubristic.
Prince Charming suggested that if I wanted comments, I shouldn’t ask questions at the end of such long diatribes, but nonetheless I’m going to ask, what do you think about fate?