If we analogize our lives to a story, its plot is governed by circumstances, events, and decisions that arise, as it were, at forks in our roads. I saw a movie once titled Sliding Doors. It was about how a minor event might change theentire course of our lives; how a different circumstance or decision might completely alter the plot of our story. It conjures for me an image of God watching my life as a movie and trying to guess which twists my plot will take while at the same time kind of kibitzing by dropping me hints about what to do next. Of course the movie, as I remember, was a light-hearted romantic spoof of how one set of circumstances might bring one particular person into another’s life and how a different circumstance might bring a different person into that life – two different futures.
The ancients called it “fate,” the Turks, “kismet.” If we believe that God pretty much turns us loose to work out our own destiny and that He allows us to make our own willful choices, the possibilities for the plots of our stories are endless. With reflection though, it would seem that only a few choices are truly important – the rest are, for the most part, inconsequential. In ultimate reality is it really so important what schools we go to, what friends we choose, whom we marry, or even what church we go to?
The twists and turns of the plot of our story as affected by these choices is not nearly as important as the inner disposition and comportment of love and compassion in us upon which such events and circumstances play out. Sure, if this or that happened or if this or that choice had been made the plot of our story might be different but, more importantly, would we, at our center, be any different? Would our relationship with You be changed? The things that have the power to drastically alter that relationship are far more critical than who my friends are, whom I marry, or what church I go to. I could have become a priest, or never married, or married another woman, or had no children, or had ten children, or been very wealthy or dirt poor; but who I am at my center and what I am called to be and do does not change, only the surrounding circumstances change. They are not that important, but they are not without influence.