Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Mysterious Mix of Life

A few years ago an old friend stopped by to visit.  It had been thirty years since we had last seen one another.  I hardly recognized him  The truth is that I did not.  Thirty years ago he had hair.  Thirty years ago he was in good physical shape, weighing in at about 170 pounds.  Oh, but you should see him now!  He weighs in at about 250 pounds and most of that is hanging over his belt!  Thirty years ago everyone thought he was on the road to a great career, but he didn't make it.  Some of this I suppose was his own fault, but what could he do about his loss of hair or the consequences of various decisions and chance happenings in his life, some of which he had no control over? 

In life there is a mysterious mix of many things, the conscious, the unconscious, the physical, and many of these are totally outside one's control.  Various myths are inculcated; genes inherited, psychological issues are present, cultural background plays a huge role, chance happenings occur, relationships are developed and lost, accidents happen, choices are made (some conscious, some unconscious) and opportunities are accepted or lost.  All these things play a part in the life of every person and very often these things control our lives much more than we know.

Have you ever wondered what happened to your high school or college classmates?  Where are they now forty or fifty years later?  How did they get there and why?   Have you ever wondered how life would have turned out if you had been born into wealth, or taken another road than the one you chose?   Did you really consciously choose that road or did it just happen out of luck?  Where would you be now?  Who could have predicted the many twists and turns of your life or mine?  Have you ever wondered why one person dies in a tragic accident or by fatal illness at a young age?  Have you ever wondered about how one person lives to be 95 and another 35, or how another takes his or her own life out of sickness and desperation?  Life is a mysterious mix--and despite our best efforts and fondest hopes and dreams, life doesn’t shape up the way we want or think it should for ourselves or others for whom we care. Is it all a matter of luck, fate, faith, genes or what?

"Twisted" -- The Mysterious Mix
Some will say that it is all in the will of God.  Does God operate on a whim, choosing this person above the other for success, for poverty, for fame or destiny, for death, for accident?  I find that ludicrous, irrational and unloving!  Yet, at the same time, I believe God has called me and that call has shaped my life in spite of all the stuff within and around me.  But shouldn’t God do that for everyone?  Does a person determine his or her own life journey?  Is the choice really all ours?  Are we really in charge?  No, that  answer doesn't work either, because of all those factors already stated, genes, disease, affluence or poverty, psychological make-up, etc.   How I wish I could explain the unexplainable, define the indefinable, ponder the imponderable, and unscrew the inscrutable!

Emerson wrote of Life:  “Fools and clowns and sots make the fringes of every one’s tapestry of life, and give a certain reality to the picture…tragedy and comedy always go hand in hand.”

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