Saturday, March 17, 2012

F for Fate-Pagan Blog Project

I think this has always been one of the big issues in any belief system.  What is meant  to be and what do we have free choice over?

I remember as a child, attending Catholic religious education classes, being asked what God did and saying that He ruled and controlled all the activities in the world.  I was very young, 7 or 8, and my teacher told me that was wrong, that we have free will.  This teacher could not explain, however, if we have free will, then why does everything follow God's plan?  Looking back, it was probably when I really began to question my early childhood faith.

Since then, I've wondered about this question often.  I know there are some things in life that simply are and that do not change.  I was born an alcoholic and I will always be one.  I was also born short, always gonna be that too!!  Therefore, I have to believe some things are fated in life and it is our response to those things that we determine.

For example, John Walsh was fated to lose his son Adam.  He lost him to an abduction and murder and he became an anti-crime crusader.  Had he lost the child to a drunk driver, it may have been him behind the anti-drunk driving movement founded by Candy Lightner.  Likewise, Ms Lightner was fated to lose her child, Cari.  Had she lost the child in another way, she would have become an advocate for that cause.  The examples are endless, especially when it is parents motivated by the loss of a child.

Please understand everything in this blog is MY belief only.  I am by no means saying that anyone deserves to lose a child, I am merely saying that sometimes things are meant to be, through no fault of our own.

What we have control over is how we respond to these things.  In both of these, and in countless other examples, the parents rose above their grief and tried to better the world.   Others retreat into grief, while still others find a way to carry on with their daily lives and that is enough.  Sometimes, the examples set by someone, no matter how good or bad, can influence someone else greatly.

A person suffering from severe depression, thinking of suicide,  who gets treatment after watching a parent go on after losing a child.  A niece or nephew who watches a relative fall apart in grief and never recover, who goes on to become a psychiatrist and help others deal with their emotional issues.

Of course, fate plays out on a large scale too.  Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, September 11th, I firmly believe all these events and so many others, were meant to happen.  Again, it is the response to these events that we have control over and that we should attempt to influence to their best possible outcome.

Pearl Harbor led the U.S. to join WW2 and help defeat the Axis nations, overall  a good thing.  The Holocaust led to Israel becoming a country, a good thing,  but it has not led to the end of genocide. 

As Pagans we have a much better understanding of the interconnectedness of the world than most people do.  We understand how all things work together, often in unseen ways and that disturbing or destroying any one thing influences us all.

My belief is that we should not tilt at the windmills of fate, but there is nothing that says we can't find a way around them.  We can't stop someone from getting sick, and we may not always be able to heal them.  But we can most certainly make their illness less debilitating, diminish their pain, and give them moments of comfort, sometimes even joy.

That to me is where being Pagan meets Fate: I can't beat Fate but I can do a nice end run and make things at least a little better than they would have been without me.

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