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Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?

“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…” John Lennon

I often feel that I am where I’m meant to be. I feel that there is somehow a plan for my life, and that there are reasons for the things that have happened to me. Unfortunately, I don’t really know what that reason is, but I have theories, and these are based on faith in God and a belief in a hereafter. I don’t know if this is fate, or destiny or what.

I also know I have free will, and I can ignore that small still voice of God, I can make bad choices, I can do wrong, I can be selfish, hateful, and hurt other people. Or I can choose to follow a path that leads me to being a better person. I can move toward God and good or away. How does this coexist with fate — I’m not sure.

Since I’ve had a couple of bad patches in my life, I know that how one deals with pain, suffering, grief, addiction, is what defines a person. Living through good times with no glitches is easy, but when times get tough, one has to draw on resources from both the inside and the outside to make it through whole, and better person for having surmounted the crises. Surviving “whole” means that you don’t look back with anger, resentment, or self-pity, but a thankfulness for what you learned and how you grew having weathered the experience.

I have always liked the poem “Footprints”. It helps explain to me “fate” in the broadest sense, that is we are either in sync with God and with ourselves, or we are trying to go it alone, without asking for help along the way:

Footprints in the Sand Poem

One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

“Lord, You said that once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me.”

The Lord replied,
“My son, My precious child, I love you and I would
never leave you. During your times of trial and
suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I Carried You.”

Carolyn Carty, 1963