What is the likelihood of your life turning out as you expect? Statistically, it's got to be incredibly low, hasn't it?
Even when you make sensible decisions, put the right safeguards in place, take into consideration the wise counsel of others, plot your course taking into account every variable you can see. What are the odds that it will actually turn out as you expect?
There must be a gazillion other factors over which we have no control that can change the course of our life. From the global, to the local, to the human, to the frailty of the temporal world. All interconnected.
A driver misses a left hand turn and slams on their brakes. Several cars further back, a texting truck driver crashes into the vehicle in front of him. The driver he hits is injured. The injury precipitates a breakdown, that ends a marriage, that sends three people to the other side of the world.
All begun by one person missing their left hand turn who knows nothing about any of it.
Interconnection. What's an example from your life? Or in the world right now?
Think of the billions of examples of interconnection happening right this second changing the course of people's lives forever. Then go back and back and back. What if? What if? What if?
Does "What if?"-ing change anything in the now? Nope, it if-ing doesn't.
Is life a pinball machine? People's lives just crashing into each other and crashing into the planet? A world going mad? A self-oriented society devolving into chaos? And the ramifications going on and on from generation to generation?
When I think about the world like this, I find human behaviours in reaction to a life of random chance and self-determination completely understandable.
How can you possibly stay calm? Stay sane? Not take things into your own hands? Isn't it all just so horrendously unpredictable? Random? Terrifying? Unfair?
You send your child to school in the morning and a lonely, enraged, disenfranchised, possibly mentally ill teen shoots them. Where do you go with that?
Where's the hope?
Where's the meaning?
Where's the power?
Because, sure, I could have driven home a different route that day but something else could have happened to me somewhere else couldn't it? I might have hurt someone else! Would I be where I am right now? Might I be somewhere even harder?
The point is, I don't know. And the searching could make you crazy. In the final analysis, we can only deal with what is. What did happen. Where we are. What faces us now.
And where can we find help for that?
In the bottom of a bottle?
For a while. But none can transmogrify the molecular make-up of what our lives have become because of what has already happened to us.
So what hope is there for the future?
I recognise that, for me, the hope is in a through line.
That there is Someone other than myself who was there with me at the beginning, who is with me in the middle, and who will stay with me beyond the end. Who knows me, who gets me, who does actually understand it all. And who can use it all to transmogrify and redeem my life.
Even so. Even so.
Now, if you can meet that Person.
There is hope.