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Turns and Stops

Much as I’d like to think what happens to us in a general sense is a result of our individual choices, I’m led to believe it’s not always the case. While I don’t limit the power choices have over the outcome of our everyday life, such as, you can choose to be lazy and what becomes of that is your own doing, in the grand scheme of things and in the major events that highlight our life, it’s not our will that predominates but a Higher will, that of God’s. He runs the course of our life. He makes the turns and the stops. He brings the people and the circumstances.

And that couldn’t be any truer to me than now. Remembering recent events of ‘opportunities’, I thought, “well if I wanted for something to happen, I can always make something happen.” I can choose to believe that it’s up to me to make something happen. After all, it’s going to be my initiative, my choice. I can choose to believe that the outcome of any event will depend on what I do, what I choose to do. And maybe that’s true to an extent. I won’t get something unless I act on it. I won’t meet people unless I make myself available. I won’t lose weight until I decide to go on a diet.

But see, it’s not always the case. Pardon the vague illustration, here’s a specific example to prove my point.

While I was in Mt. Pulag with a friend, I had this mini crush on one of the mountaineers. My friend Miggie instantly knew I was sort of eyeing this one guy, and so while we were inside the tent, she kept pestering me to make a move. Gone are the Maria Clara days it seems. All of a sudden, I was being ‘encouraged’ to make the first move, never mind I’m a girl. Initially, I protested. “No way! I’m hiya kaya!” I said, while not entirely convincing her I was actually taking that stand. “Come on Kesh, it’s the perfect time! You said you wanted to meet somebody and the opportunity’s there! It’s perfect: you meet in the mountains, he’s sort of like your dream guy, and you never know what’s going to happen, so come on!

I was still so hesitant. Not only because a big part of me was really shy, but also because it just doesn’t seem and feel right. I was never the aggressive type anyway and I never make the first move. Usually, I let guys come up to me and if I like them enough, I entertain them. To be ‘forced’ to go the other way is not only out of character, it was a violation of all that I believed about women possessing power by not even taking initiative. I felt I was cheating myself.

But while Miggie was trying hard to convince me, I had a moment where I thought to myself, “but what’s the loss, Kayz? You’re not actually selling yourself. You’re just going to open the door of opportunity and see where it gets you. Make the most of it.”

So yes, I admit: I managed to make myself believe I could make things happen, even if I was only taking a small risk, but a risk nonetheless. I did exactly what Miggie suggested I do: that I seize the opportunity and see what becomes of it.

But as I said in my opening paragraph, sometimes it’s really not up to us. We can do what we think will get us our desired outcome, we can strategize to get nearer our ‘goal’, but what we cannot calculate is how people respond and how circumstances play with or against us. We cannot force things to happen, we cannot force people or circumstances either, and certainly we cannot hope things will go the way we hoped just because we acted on them.

Did I lack something? Did I miss a step? I don’t think so. If we’re talking success rates, I’d like to think I was pretty successful at accomplishing the plan.

“So Kesh, if they invite you over for dinner or something, accept! We’re asleep okay? so you have no excuses.”

And I was offered just that. I was invited to sit down with them and have dinner, but you know what this girl, this not-aggressive, no-thank-you-I-think-I-can-manage girl did? I politely declined. I did. And it was not until Miggie scolded me for declining that I said, “fine, that was rude of me” that I decided to go back and accept the invitation.

But, it still yielded the same results: nothing.

So it’s not up to us, really, and somehow I’m happy to know that. I’m happy to know that the big things that we long for are not dependent on our casual booboos and erratic, inconsistent decisions. I’m happy to know that there are things we’re fully incapable of doing because that allows room for faith and humility to accept that some things are beyond our control. I’m happy to know that when it comes to the big things, we cannot just rely on advices or even half-truths we allowed ourselves to believe in, because half-truths are not and will never be as good as the complete truth. And the complete, absolute truth is that someone is looking out for our best interest and knows better than we do. Someone knows that yes, we are waiting and we constantly get tired, but we’re not entirely hopeless.

God runs the course of our life. He makes the turns and the stops. He brings the people and the circumstances. And obviously He hasn’t brought that person or that circumstance yet, and so I’ll keep trusting.

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