Five

days left in this job.  Well, 4 1/2 by this point in the day.

Oh, hi!  Remember me?  Yeah, got a new job.  Start next Monday.  Losing my mind trying to wrap things up here. 

Post brewing on predestination/free will … again.  I know you’re sick of hearing it.  I’m sick of thinking about it.  But with the new job and the way things are shaking out around here, I just can’t let go. 

For your homework,

1.  Go read this post and think about the last few lines:

“…the past is malleable, that chance masquerades as fate, and that, when you look back, by some trick of the light, all roads seem to lead inevitably to exactly the place you’re standing.”

2.  Add another quote that I love:

“Don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either.  Your choices are half chance.  So are everybody else’s.”

3.  Now, answer me this: have you ever thought that events occurred in YOUR life in order to make way for someone else’s dreams to come true?  As in, you were the tool (unintended pun there) fate manipulated to create an opportunity for another person.  So in essence, it didn’t matter what happened to you as a result.

4. Extra credit:  is luck something that everyone has an equal shot at getting, or do people create their own luck?

5.  Extra extra credit: do you believe in karma?

I’m asking these things very seriously.  I really do want your answers, whether you leave a comment or want to take a shot at an entire post of your own.

Go forth and ponder.

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14 thoughts on “Five

  1. Wow…they’re great questions. Um…yes, I think I do sometimes come into other people’s lives (and they come into mine) in order to be/do something for them in the moment. The problem is, you don’t really know when you’ve done it for someone else unless they tell you, but I can think of people who I dated who seemed to be there simply to get me through an event. If that makes any sense.

    I do think that luck is random but some people end up with more good luck than others. I don’t think they create it, per se, and I don’t think they deserve or don’t deserve it. The word for luck in Hebrew is mazel and it comes from three letters (mem, zayin, lamed) which stand for makom, z’man, and la’asot (place, time, doing) which means luck is being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. So the only thing that comes down to the person is whether they were open to it and doing the right thing.

    Yes, I believe somewhat in karma–like in the Buddhist sense of the word of fulfilling dharma. I’m not sure I totally believe that good things you do in this life are rewarded in the next. I need to think on that more.

    Good luck with the new job!

  2. It always matters what happens to you as a result, even if what happened to you helped another person’s dream come true. Someone once said to me: “In every one thing you see God do, He is doing a thousand.” I always liked the thought of that. It looks to me on the surface like I am being used as a tool to make another life better at the expense of my own. And perhaps I am getting no reward out of it, no benefit to speak of. But God is doing a thousand things that I can’t see. I trust that it is so. But that’s a perspective that you may not share and I don’t mean to force on you. It’s just something that I find real hope in.

    I could apply it concretely to my life in the context of my husband’s illness and the first three years of our marriage. He was so acute that I spent all my time taking care of him. There was no us, there was no me. There was him and his illness and then there was his caretaker/nurse and that was who I was all the time. I had no benefit from that. I lost my mind, I cried all the time, slept badly, had migraines, went gray. All to help him, to make his life better, to keep him off the streets, whole and as sane as I could. There was nothing in it for me but despair and destruction. But I did it.

    Fast forward to now. Things are far better. Sarge is in an advanced state of recovery. And all the things I did solely to make his life better, and it didn’t matter what happened to me as a result because I had promised to be with him in sickness and in health, DID actually turn out for my benefit. My body is still wrecked from that stress. But my soul is much stronger, my spirit much quieter. What I’m saying (at length and badly) is this: I don’t think there is a time that God uses us as a tool to make another life better without benefitting our own. It’s not in His nature, not true to His character. I don’t know what Fate does, or luck, since we haven’t met. I can only tell you about God.

    I also don’t believe in karma. I can’t as a Christian because I believe in grace. Karma means getting exactly what you deserve, all the time. So sometimes you’ll get good things because you’ve been good. But lots of times you’ll get bad stuff because you can’t be good all the time. Grace means not having to worry about my record of wrongs and rights and worrying about balancing those figures in my head. I’m forgiven and loved. Bad stuff is not wrathful punishment and is temporary at best. My ultimate future is secure. I really like grace lots more than karma, and that is where my belief lies.

    I have to apologize Sharah because this turned into a lot of God, God, God. I don’t want to beat you over the head and tell you what to believe. It’s not my intention to judge or criticize you. I just want you to be at ease and at peace and to know you are loved. If I’ve offended, please forgive me. And you can feel free to delete my comment.

  3. Flicka (and everybody else) you don’t have to apologize! I am very much dealing with a crisis of faith at the moment, and I’m trying to figure out what I do believe. That’s why I’m asking all these questions (over and over…)

  4. 1. Wow, great line. It makes me think.
    2. I wear my sunscreen. :). I love that line as well.
    3. I haven’t had been the tool. But, maybe had the benefit.
    4. Unfortunately, I believe some people are more lucky than others. And yes you can make some – like taking a chance – but for the most part luck is luck. Some people have it and others don’t.

    By the way, I don’t think IVF falls under luck at all. I think that child is meant to be and IVF (Doctor etc.) are tools to get you there.

    Hope this helps. Good luck on the new job!

  5. Big ideas and questions here. Let’s see.

    First. Congrats again on the position. How can they not adore you?

    I wish I had a better memory for meaningful statements or observations. Whenever I hear one that stops me cold I think I MUST remember this and then promptly forget.

    As for this question: events occurred in YOUR life in order to make way for someone else’s dreams to come true? I can’t say that that idea was ever occurred to me. But then I’m pretty self-absorbed. It’s more often than not about me, me, me…not anyone else. Taking me out of it, it just doesn’t seem to add up.

    is luck something that everyone has an equal shot at getting, or do people create their own luck? I do believe that we can influence some bit of luck by having our lap out there for things to drop into. I also believe that most of what happens is random — being in the right place at the right time.

    As for Karma. I’m starting to think more seriously about it. I have a t-shirt that reads Karma is as Karma Does. The more good stuff I put out there the more good stuff I hope to get in return.

    Keep asking the questions. They’re important ones to consider.

  6. Great post… I am glad Mel sent the pointer out to it.

    I do believe that events that occur in our lives in order to make way for someone else’s dreams (or nightmares…because I also feel the reverse can happen) to come true. I have a post on it from 9/06 when I returned from vacation:

    http://my-many-blessings.blogspot.com/2006/09/how-my-miscarriages-have-brought-forth.html

    In a nutshell, DH’s cousin informed us, upon our return from the shore for a week (which she had come down to visit one day and did not spill the beans then) that she was getting married….because she was PG. She had just graduated college with her graphic design degree the previous May and after taking a 2-3 month break from dating her long-term boyfriend, they got back together and…well, oops! She considered ALL options, including abortion, and she told me that they key factor in her decision to keep the baby and get married was because she had watched my path through IF and then recurrent PG loss. She felt that 1) it would be a slap in the face to me to abort this baby and 2) what if fate was not so kind to her either later on in life, when she wanted to have kids? How would this decision now affect her then? So, she really considered my journey…and decided to keep her baby.

    Maybe she would have come to that decision anyway…but, she couldn’t help her thoughts going back to my experiences – and my tears – and make the right choice.

  7. Awesome questions, and I’m too burned out this week to answer, at least without a drink in my hand. I’ve been pondering very heavily on the second – what exactly it means to crunch through the math in my head to get to a point where I feel “comfortable” with something, when really I”ll probably end up doing what my gut tells me to do anyway. Not to mention, either way, gut or head, is a CHANCE. So maybe I should just say, fuck the chance, and focus on what I might get out of it if the chance proves correct?

    I don’t believe in three, I don’t think there’s a zero sum (sadly, some people just keep getting hosed), but I do think now I’m the low bar for some people. Not so much “wow, this certainly won’t go wrong because statistically it can’t happen twice on a block, and it already happened to Tash,” but “wow, this might go wrong, but it certainly isn’t anything compared to what happened to Tash.”

    And four bothers me. Because I used to believe in the latter — my husband, for example, I used to say lived under a “lucky star” — he fell into jobs, all at the right time stock market-wise, has had some personal interventions that have nothing short of downright miraculous, but he’s good at what he does. He worked awfully hard to be good at what he does. But then the personal crap hit the fan, and that? Has nothing to do with work. Nothing. There is no amount of work we could’ve done to change THAT luck, unfortunately.

  8. I wish we could all gather ’round and talk this out as this is something that I grapple with at least once a month.

    I will share this: 4 years ago, when I was just realizing how intense and hard taking care of my Grandmother was going to be, I had this deep realization that brought me this crazy comfort. I should explain that I am totally the woman (girl?) that always regrets or wonders if she made teh right choice. One of those choices was leaving NYC and moving to LA to be with a boyfriend. Another choice was dropping out of one school program and enrolling in a way different one. Then there was the choice to stay with a tyrant of a boss or travel around the world working for another company…you get my point. I was restless in my life that I had made wrong choices.

    And then I was hit with the realization that no matter what path I had taken or not taken that right at that moment I would be cutting up my grandmother’s food. No matter if I was in NYC or LA or London- come 2003 I would be heading back south to take care of her.

    For some reason that just brought be weird comfort, that even if I had gone off track at some point that I knew I was on the correct one then.

    I also think that there are people in our life that are there for a reason. But it sometimes take years to get that. I am only just now able to examine spoiled friendships and learn from them.

    As for karma…fuck if I know. I certainly hope so. In some effed up way I am counting on it.

    Can’t wait to come back to see what more people say- great questions.

    xo

  9. I think luck is random but unequally distributed. I don’t believe that we attract or repell it. That smacks too much of blame or credit to me. (ie: I am unlucky because I am not positive enough or I never got pg because I never did manage to find my zen state of relaxation or take J. Lo. who got pg because she wanted it badly enough! (see Mel’s post)

    I’m not sure I believe in Karma. I think we can all stand to do more good in the world, but hoping for a payback defeats (some of) the generosity of the deed. I also see too much pain in the world to believe that all or even any of those people deserve it.

    (But then, karma’s not in my court these days, so that’s my bias!)

    I may have completely different answers next week, next month, next year.

  10. Great questions, and very timely for me, as I’ve been pondering the idea of karma a fair bit lately. Karma is one of the ideas that I find hard to really accept. I guess because it totally strips away the possibility of innocence. It’s easy to say that the sex offender was murdered in a prison riot (as recently happened in a Canadian prison) because of his karma. And I think it’s equally easy to say that when we put good things out into the world, good things come back to us – at least it’s easy to say this when things are working this way. But what about children who are suffering? Is it their karma, the result of their actions in this and previous lives? Is everyone struggling with infertility working off some debt to the universe? I don’t know if I can accept that. I guess one of the hardest parts is that even if we believe in karma, the cosmic tally of our good and bad deeds remains hidden from us – we will likely not know or understand the reasons why things are going the way they are.

    On the other hand, I do believe that to some extent things happen for a reason, and that we come into the world needing to learn certain things in our lives, that we are presented with situations that will teach us what we need to know, and we often attract people that will do this for us. And this belief is totally compatible with karma. So basically, I am confused. But very happy to think about it, so thank you for this great post.

  11. I’m here via the blog round up.

    My answer is pretty simple. I am completely convinced that life is natural or chaotic or in other words, not at all influenced by a God or a Divine Power or Intention or anything thing else that makes things happen for a reason. Things just happen. It is easy to look back and think, “Wow, all these things lined up to get me right to this point.” But no matter where “this point” is we would feel the same way – if we were happy about that point. If not, we wonder what went wrong.

    To me, the world just works too well without any kind of guiding power. In fact, I would expect it to work just as it does. If I try to add a God to the mix, it stops making sense. And I don’t look out at nature and think, “It all works so perfectly – how can that happen my chance?” Because the answer to that is – it is chance and it wouldn’t exist this way if it wasn’t currently working out. When it stops working, nature will adjust.

    However, I do think our behavior and belief system can impact our reality. If I am confident I will find the perfect puppy, I might behave differently (tell people what I am looking for, watch for ads, etc.) than if I think it is a futile effort (drive pass the “free puppies” sign, for example). That doesn’t mean that believing I have perfect eggs will make them healthier, but it just might.

    I don’t mean to offend anyone who does believe in a higher power. I think, in the end, we all choose to believe what works best for us. We believe the world works in a certain way because that belief helps us cope or it just *seems* right.

  12. Now that no-one is reading except you—as for number 3, adoptees are always in this position.

    We have no choices, no options, and are assumed to always want whatever we ever are told to want. Our only purpose is to fulfill the needs of the adoptive parents. Except for some exceptional cases where our first parents abused us, we didn’t need to be given up for adoption. If our first parents had access to jobs and education and child care, we would not have been given up.

  13. No, no, no, and no. I don’t believe in any of that sort of thing; I don’t think there’s such a think as “luck,” good, bad, or otherwise (i.e. I am always sick, but not because I have bad LUCK; it’s because my genes suck and so of COURSE I am always sick and always will be). I’m an atheist as you know, so I’m no good to anyone in a crisis of faith, but I will say that I like Keats’ spiral imagery; the idea that our life is a spiral staircase, and while we ARE headed somewhere, we’re also covering and recovering the same ground (i.e. old patterns end up repeating themselves, INVARIABLY). Also, 3% 3 perschment. If it happens to you, your personal odds are 100%, if not, then zero. You know the old adage about lies, damn lies, and statistics, and I do think that statistics are valuable in helping us know what is reasonable to expect or hope for or against, but “the odds” get beaten to death all the time. For example, your odds of developing Stevens-Johnson’s Syndrome? One in two million. I’ve had it twice. My odds of carrying a baby to viability (not term, but viability as defined by the medical community) after my first two high-risk pregnancies and early deliveries? 50/50. I carried my third child for 38 weeks, and I think the baby would’ve stuck longer, but finally my OBGYN took pity on me and induced me since the baby looked so BIG on ultrasound and I was so miserable, having never experienced a term pregnancy (the last couple of weeks were hell–the novelty of being able to balance an entire dinnerplate on top of my belly and eat on the couch without a tv table wore off FAST). I don’t believe in the “power of positive thinking” (although I do know first-hand that stress and negativity CAN harm you, especially if you are adrenally-challenged and can’t afford to blow all of your cortisol on a screaming match with your beloved), or “The Secret,” or any of that sort of thing. I don’t like the wording, but WILL agree with the “people make their own luck” one. For example, my parents kicked me out when I was sixteen. Was I LUCKY to get into college and be permitted to live in the dorms on student loan money? No, I worked my ass off, smudged the ink on my DOB on the application, personally harassed the dean endlessly, and did tons of medical research for a lawyer’s malpractice case in exchange for his help in getting legally emancipated. Would you be “lucky” to get to adopt a newborn? Well I’m sure everyone would say so, but wouldn’t it be as a direct result of completing all of the paperwork, homestudies, etc.? Is my youngest “lucky” to be alive, or is it just that I worked tirelessly to protect the baby from germs and sterilize EVERYTHING, care for the NG and later the G-tube anal-retentively and do all of the steps, EVERY TIME, advocated constantly for the baby in the hospital when I felt they weren’t being humane or thorough enough, and seek out second opinions in other cities? That’s another case where people would say yes, but the I prefer the term “fortunate.” We are FORTUNATE to have elemental formula (it was only invented ten years before we started using it!), and insurance that pays for it, and I am FORTUNATE that I had a lot of medical training from caring for my father after his stroke and a nurse-mother to call with questions, and the baby is FORTUNATE in that we’re not the “it’s god’s will that this one not make it” type who wouldn’t keep pressing the issue until they found a solution. I don’t think luck has anything to do with it, although of course I still say that people are “lucky” or “unlucky,” and that I am “cursed,” etc. because it is part of the common lexicon of colloquialisms, and I’m not committed enough to sticking by my beliefs to abandon the usual patterns of speech that people are used to hearing and render myself incomprehensible or, worse, irreparably dorky 🙂

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