Thursday, June 27, 2013

Choose your own adventure

Did you ever read those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books as kid?  They were books that had multiple paths of story line.  You would get to the end of a section and be presented with a choice.  Something like: "You jump off the bridge into the great unknown, turn to page 52 OR You run away screaming, turn to page 78".  Ultimately as you were reading you would make a handful of choices and get to an ending, sometimes happy, but mostly to your demise.  Of course the fun in these books is reading them many times and making different choices each time.  There were only 6 or so endings, so often seemingly different choices would get you back to the same place in the end.

So the point to all this... I often think how life is like a choose your own adventure book, but you only get to know one path!  I remember having an argument with a friend once... He insisted that if you made a choice that went off of God's path for your life that you could never get back on.  I argued that we may get off God's intended path many times but we can always be brought back around. 

My husband and I are approaching our 5 year wedding anniversary.  When I look back at the road that brought us together, it is long and has many steps and choices along the way.  Did I make all those choices correctly along the way to allow me to meet "the one"?  If I changed one thing, would we have never met?  Or would some other series of choices led me to him, just in a different way?  Or would my series of choices have taken me down a different path where I would never have met him at all and actually ended up with someone else entirely?  And would I be someone different if I had made different choices?  

And how much of this is choice, and how much is "fate"?  If I try to trace back the path that allowed me to meet my husband, it has some deliberate, long thought out choices, but it also has some quick decisions based on feelings, promptings, or things totally out of my control.  Months of agonizing over whether to transfer schools or what to change my major to; months of trying to decide between Boston and Cleveland;  a sore throat that changed what a capella group I joined; a song that entered my head while sitting on the steps of the student center, causing me to spend a summer as a camp counselor; an impulsive vacation switch from Hawaii to California, where I met my husband...

I don't quite know where I want to go with this blog post or how to wrap it up succinctly, so I will just end with this quote from Thomas Merton that echos my heart's prayer:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

1 comment:

  1. I love that Merton prayer. In fact, speaking of things that brought us together, this prayer from Thomas Merton essentially defined my senior year at Georgetown. I heard it first on a retreat near the beginning of the year, and kept returning to it as the year went on.

    Oh, and I loved those 'choose your own adventure books' when I was younger! I must have read dozens!

    Wonderful post.