Reflections

Places to go and things to do

Eleanor Deckert
Places to go and things to do

Yes! I have a brand new daybook to write in! (I think I have collected them for about 20 years now).

Names, phone numbers, appointments, birthdays... so many things to fill in that I already know. And so many blank pages, white and smooth, eagerly awaiting notes and jottings, lists and scribbles.

The future is always unknown. Places to go and things to do. That is what this book is for.

There are so many beautiful journals in the stationery and bookstores these days. Everyone seems to be preserving their dreams and goals, poems and projects, quotes and questions, creativity and curiosity.

A new grandchild is expected. My last batch of medication is due. Appointments are scheduled. Travel tickets are reserved. Mechanical tests required. Meeting agendas are planned. Predictable patterns are in place.

And yet, so much is unknown.

As logical and prepared and focused and equipped as I can be, the unexpected lurks, ready to surprise me... for the good, or trouble.

Luck? Fate? Chance? Providence? Destiny? Every culture and time has a slightly different take on the tricky surprises that come along in life.

The first stage play I ever saw was called “Kismet.” First bad luck, then good luck comes to a father and his lovely daughter. The poverty they begin with might change when the Prince is entranced by the daughter's beauty. A police chase might land the father in jail, or worse. Marketplace capers. Musical numbers. Mistaken identity. Kismet is all in good fun.

Wikipedia defines the word Kismet: “When you encounter something by chance that seems like it was meant to be, then it could be kismet, your destiny.

“The word kismet comes from the Arabic word ḳismat, meaning “division, portion, lot.” You can think of kismet as your lot in life, or your fate. You’ll often hear the word used in relation to something significant that came about entirely by chance. If you met the love of your life when you spilled coffee on one another as you fell on the icy sidewalk of a street you never walked down before, all you can do is smile and shrug and say, “Kismet.””

Do fairies... or angels... or the stars... or Muses tamper with our futures?

One of my favourite stories in my study of mythology comes from ancient Greece.

Answers.com explains: “The three fates were said to control the lives of mortals by severing the threads at the end of their lives. Clotho was the spinner of the tapestry, Lachesis the measurer of the thread, and Atropos held shears to cut the mortal thread.”

We live. Time passes. Snip! We die.

Sometimes, I admit, when tragedy strikes, I simply pause and acknowledge the lack of control we mortals have, and imagine the fickle Fates snickering together as they randomly snip the thread of an unsuspecting resident of Planet Earth and watch as we scramble, grieve, rant and wallow in self-pity as we face the havoc they have set in motion.

Shakespeare weighs in on the debate contrasting how much, if at all, we contribute to our own successes and failures. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

The Wisdom books in the Bible don't offer one solid answer to the puzzle of the Future.

“A time to be born and a time to die,” is a familiar passage from Ecclesiastes 3:2 which seems to remind the reader that both “good” and “bad” things happen, and are part of the life of every person.

The book of Job twists this way and that trying to understand the way positive and negative events impact Job and his family. How much does God dish out? Does the Devil have power to throw disaster in our way? How much is a temptation? How much did Job bring upon himself? Can he be punished for what others have done? What could have been different? What does the future hold?

Jeremiah 29:11 offers some hope in a God we can trust in to provide for our every need. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

And Isaiah 55:9 reminds us that, although we cannot see the big picture, God can see the end result of today's situation. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

However, the invisible, intangible, unknowable layer of life seems to be the most certain thing to depend on. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

A New Year… places to go and things to do... and much to ponder!