Fate or coincidence

By Jim Paredes

Every person has his own unique set of circumstances in life. From the outset, there are things that are pre-ordained.

I refer to one’s starting position in life when a person is born, and the many things that happen and will happen in the future beyond his or her control.

For example, you may have been born Caucasian, rich, handsome, athletic with a whole set of great genes that give you an edge over most everyone you know.

Or you could have been born a woman in a domineering, harsh, male chauvinistic culture, and you are small, frail, handicapped, plain, and living in some God-forsaken place where to have a life that you want is nearly impossible.

In both situations, you hardly had a choice. You were simply born into your situation.
It is painful to see and read about persecuted people, or those who are very sick, handicapped, helpless and extremely poor. I remember the lyrics of a song I learned as a boy that goes, ‘There but fortune go you or I, you or I’, and I ask why others have circumstances that are so difficult and so different from mine.

Was it simply luck, or what they call ‘the roll of the dice’? Could it be Fate? Karma? Destiny? Are there really such things? I will never know.

I may not understand God’s will and why He allows many people to suffer lives of want and others to live in abundance. No one can be certain how and why each person’s life is somewhat pre-ordained with his own unique set of circumstances.

More than knowing the answers to how and why, I prefer to think that each person has a mission to fulfill. And the circumstances we find ourselves in play a part in that mission.

Think of the parents, family, community, nationality, social class we were born into. Is it possible that God chose the parents who would give us the set of genes we need to physically meet the challenges of our mission? And think of the place, time and our social standing in society. Could they be crucial or strategic to the mission? Could the moral upbringing, psychological nurturing, and the education we went through have been ‘pre-planned ‘ to help us find resonance with the mission orders we are about to discover?
Think about it.

For example, why does it happen that a man and a woman from very diverse backgrounds suddenly, accidentally meet, and in the few hours they share, opt to make love and right after, the man quickly skips town never to be seen again, leaving the woman to fend for the infant just conceived in her womb? Could it be that God created the opportunity for them to meet because they happened to have the right genes to produce the right person to be born for a specific mission?

Could the man’s mission in that situation be as simple as being simply a sperm donor? James Hillman, author of ‘The Soul’s Code’ who gave this example, thinks it could be so.
Think of people and events as ‘interventions’ that happen at different stages of our lives. There are people you meet who change you in different ways, some you meet accidentally – the happenstance of being in a certain place and time where an event happens that changes you and points you to a different life direction.

This has happened to a lot of people throughout history, among them, St Ignatius, the soldier who, after an accident, found his true calling in a life of prayer. There is also Mother Teresa, a school teacher in an expensive foreign school in India whose life changed completely when a poor Indian beggar belonging to the lowest caste suddenly died in front of her. In her attempt to save the man, she discovered her calling in charity work.

Some of us live huge parts of our lives without having an inkling of what our own individual missions are. Missions are something we awaken to. There is suddenly a yearning for meaning that unmistakably calls us and we know we are being led to the right place. We are drawn into a new purpose. It can happen accidentally. It can be an easily recognizable call or a rude awakening.

Some people refuse to imagine the possibility of divine forces moving behind the scenes in their lives. I believe there are. The circumstances alone of where and how we are born already set the course of our lives in some direction. The divine and human energies that appear throughout our lifetime are there to change or refine our direction from time to time, to bring us closer to the mission at hand.

I don’t subscribe to the zodiac, and I still believe in free will. We are still free to answer or not to answer the call.

The person who awakens and answers will intuit the forces that are leading him. And he may even be blessed with the privilege of answering the ultimate question of why he was even born into the world at all. ###

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