It Is Written

I finally was able to see the Oscar winning and movie of the year, Slumdog Millionaire.  It truly is deserving of its Oscars.  Amazing Movie! 

The movie did get me to ponder this notion of destiny in our lives.  The premise of the movie is that this uneducated poverty stricken young man gets a chance to be on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”  and succeeds in answering the questions.  He knows the answers not because of any book learning he has had or formal education but rather because of the oft times traumatic twists and turns in his life that happened to him that are coincidently the topic of the questions.   Or are they coincidental? 

Is there some purpose in our lives that we are meant to play out?    Has our destiny  been written in advance of our living it?   If so, where then does free will come into play if our lives have already been mapped out by some unknown hand?  These questions are ancient ones.

Could Mohandas Gandhi,  Martin Luther King, Jr., or Dorothy Day have lived out their life any differently than they did?  For that matter could the doorman, the taxi cab driver, the janitor, the housewife have lived out their lives any differently? 

There is another movie this reminds me of by the title of Sliding Doors, starring Gwyneth Paltrow.    She plays a career woman who gets fired from her job and on her way home the story line splits into two directions by the happenstance of  the sliding doors of a subway train.  In the first scenario she missed the sliding doors and her life continues pretty much as is.  In the second scenario, she catches the sliding doors and arrives home to discover her partner in bed with another woman.  Both scenarios are plausible.  This movie suggests that it really doesn’t matter which scenario plays out in the middle of life because the ending is what ultimately matters and the ending is the same.  

In some ways Sliding Doors hints at Calvin’s predestinationthat the outcomes are already written; destined for salvation or for reprobation.  

We seem to cheer more for the taxi cab driver who somehow beats the odds of making it big.  Some mysterious lining up of the stars perhaps, that places him or her in the path of the movie director or model agency who is looking for that certain look.  Or perhaps it is a hard working legal clerk named Erin Brockovich who happens to put a case together against Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  These are the people we cheer because in part, they resemble our own everyday ordinary lives and in the process of their ordinary days they accomplish extraordinary events. 

This is not to belittle the achievements of a Gandhi or a King, or even of a  Day but in the course of time or perhaps the telling of their stories does place some distance between our lives and theirs.  While we honor their accomplishments, their personage becomes elevated to something higher perhaps even destined to have played out as it did and we cannot see ourselves doing what they did.   

I look back on my life and sometimes I get a sense that it makes perfect sense that I am where I am today.  The opportunities that are presented to me seem to be perfect in building on what came before.  Perhaps I would also be saying this if I had pursued some of my other options more fully… for a time I majored in theater.  Where would that path have taken me?  Would it, like in Sliding Doors lead me to exactly where I am today?  I also pursued writing, specifically fiction and  poetry.  Would this path have led me here?  I have an unfinished manuscript where the main character in the story goes off to seminary.  I had to stopped writing as I had no clue what seminary was like.  At the time, my actually attending seminary was not in the works.  Ten years later attending seminary happened.  So was it my destiny?  Was I tapping into what was already written about my life?

These are questions that I will probably continue to ponder for the rest of my days.  In the meantime, I intend to be open to the possibilities and see what options open before me.    Blessings,

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Published in: on March 2, 2009 at 8:08 pm  Comments Off on It Is Written  
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