I was listening to an incarcerated man speak about his children last week; “This is my life. It is what I’ve always wanted. Not jail but respect. To get the respect I had to do things which would take me to jail. When my boy grows up if this is the life he lives I will respect him and we’ll rule the jail together.” To hear him hurt my heart. He had decided there was a certain path he, and his family, had no choice to follow to achieve his goal; respect. He didn’t realize it but he was talking about fate.
The dictionary defines fate; “the development of events beyond a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power.” For this man, the family he was born into, the house he grew up in, the neighborhood he roamed as an adolescent, the laws and societal norms he broke to fit in, powers beyond his control, all came together to put him on the path of being incarcerated. It was his fate and the presumably the fate of his children as well.
Wisdom tells us there are two circles; a large one and a small one. The large one is the things we cannot control; events, tragedies, positive occurrences and negative influences, most of life fits in this circle. The smaller circle are things we can control; choices, habits, reactions, responses to the negative influences and the positive occurrences. There is much out of control and life can seem overwhelming and chaotic. How do we find the right path in a world full of greed, hate, and evil? How do we know what’s right when a lot of things seem headed in the wrong direction? Or, are we fated to walk a certain path because of where we were born and to whom, grew up, genetics, role models?
The power to choose, to react, respond to the life that is given to us is great. It cannot stop tragedies, events, life from happening but it can decide how these things which are out of our control impact us. Life seems easier for some than others. Privilege is real. However, it doesn’t define us unless we allow it to set our course.
I’ve heard of people having the cops called on them but never the neighbors. Yet, that’s what happened to me today.
A couple of weeks ago a couple of mighty storms blew through our area. The winds damaged and loosened some shingles on our house. We had the insurance company out this week and a roofing person but there is rain in the forecast for tomorrow and I wanted to temporarily fix the roof to avoid any leaks. So, this morning I retrieved the ladder and went to work. Our roof is very steep so my wife made me promise last night to text before going up and when I was finished. I did the first part but forgot the second. Midway through another chore I heard the voice of my neighbor; “Brian! Brian!” I stopped what I was doing, and headed to the front yard. There she was and I was confused. Then she said; “your bride was worried and wants you to call her!“ which I immediately did.
After putting my wife’s mind at rest, I smiled and was thankful for someone who loves me enough to call a neighbor and ask them to get in their car, drive over and check to make sure I’m okay. That little neighbor lady and the Mrs. made my day.