I had the strangest thought today. It popped into my head at some odd moment or another, lodged itself in there, and refused to leave. Ever have that? You just can't seem to shake it. For better or for worse, it stays with you for the rest of your day. For me, it ruminates in the old gray matter, stewing until I sit down and give it free run of the place, through my fingers and onto this page.
My mental fixation today, 2 days after Christmas, has been the paths I've taken (or not taken), and choices I've made (or didn't make, if that were the case). And how those actions shaped me into who I see in the mirror today. Pretty heavy stuff, huh? I'm not really one to focus on existential thoughts of being who I am versus becoming who I am meant to be. I leave those gems for the philosophers, and quite frankly I just don't have the patience for it.
But every once in awhile I can't help but wonder......
I was just 2 easy classes and an added Praxis away from getting my Kindergarten certification. Did you know that? At the time I really didn't think having that additional certification was necessary. First through the Eighth grades was plenty. And yet.....and yet when I got out into the world of education, starting off as a very busy substitute teacher, I spent most of my time where? Ah yes, in Kindergarten classrooms. Which I adored, by the way. And when the position I had been subbing opened up, could I be considered for it? Alas, no. Because of 2 short classes and a test.
Would I be a stay at home mom now if I had taken a different path then?
Then too there is the question of my husband. We met at a summer church camp. I attended the church, but he didn't. Yet we both made choices to work there. That summer. Our paths hardly ever crossed, our circles spinning very distinctly in different directions. He spending his every single hour with his duties as a camp counselor, and me in the roasting heat of the kitchen. And yet.......and yet by the end of that summer we were dating, and just months from that we were engaged. What if one or both of us hadn't decided to work there? I am a self-described home body who never had any desire to leave home or strike out on my own. Besides that, I was miserable on the few occasions when I actually attended said camp as a camper myself. What on earth made me think I wanted to work there all summer?
Would I be who I am today if I hadn't? Would Dan and I have still met, somehow?
These are just 2 of the millions of choices I've made. Any of us, all of us, have made millions of decisions just like this, and they each shape our lives in some way. Stay or go? Left or right? Here or there? Yes or no? Every day is an onslaught of This or That choices that we make whether we're aware of making them or not. And I think they all have some impact on us, or those around us. And it's all too easy to sit back afterward and wonder if it had all been done differently, would the outcome still be the same.
Some people look at all this as so many random occurrences. A whole lot of nothings that may possibly add up to a monumental something. But it's all random. Or is it?
I feels things quite differently. When I look back to those moments where I was conscious of having a real choice to make--a yes or no---I can honestly say that I have felt led to make whichever choice I did. I've never felt alone. Never felt like I was the victim of some random act of who knows what.
Each choice, for better or for worse, was the one I was supposed to make.
Thinking back to those 2 classes and a test, I remember that last semester of course planning. I remember seeing the titles of the classes in question and seeing that they fit into my rather easy (for once) schedule that Spring. I had them both on my list. I almost registered for them. But it didn't feel right. I can't explain it any other way than that. It wouldn't have been right for me to take those classes, and I knew it. So no classes, no extra Praxis, no Kindergarten certification.
And that's okay.
Same thing with my husband of 13 lovely years. Time may be speeding away, but for some odd reason I still remember applying for that camp job. (I can't remember what I made for dinner last night, or what color my socks are without checking, but I can quite vividly remember that. Go figure.) I can still feel that sense of anxiety over the prospect of being away from home and the uncertainty of how that would be. All those nagging little worries that went along with that choice to submit that application. But it felt right. It was the right thing for me to do. And so I did. And you know what? I think it was quite right for me. (Somehow I think Dan would agree with me on that point.)
For me, things aren't random. I truly feel in the deepest parts of my very being that God has led me down a path. This path. It's not always the easiest path. There are bumps and stumbles along the way. There are the times, like today, when I mentally wonder about all of those countless little and big choices I've faced. They've made me who I am. Who I am right now.
And that's okay. I see myself quite clearly. I am at this place as the result of a million or more choices and daily decisions, but I wasn't alone in making them. Never once. I know that beyond a doubt.
In fact, at this exact moment my beloved is playing one of those strange video games that, to an observer (and uninterested party) like me, appears to blur the line between reality and fiction. Is this a movie? Is it a game? What is this? I could stay and watch. (And be confused). I could. But I'm going to execute one of those daily choices and move my little old self upstairs to my waiting nook and a Stephen King diddy. I'll admit that I am making this one on my own. Fully on my own. But I'm feeling pretty clear about it.