I truly believe that life is part destiny, and part determination, and I think that the latter counts more than the former. There is a sense that as we go through our life, the more we seek, the more we will find ourselves. And I think that is true to an extent. We ought to seek experiences, and look for the things that make us grow – the things that light our souls on fire and give our lives meaning. But I don’t think those things are a matter of fate solely. I believe in fate; I really do. And I definitely believe that we are all created for a purpose. But I also believe in choices.
I think one of the greatest gifts that God gave us is free will. And it was a gift that we were given out of love. Nobody likes to be forced but in society we are forced every day. Institutions, societal structures, norms, popular culture, fitting in – we are forced to be a particular self, often within these contexts. And many times, we are not given as much choice as we think we are. Even when we are told to look for ourselves within the confined parameters of life, our choices seem to be restricted. But perhaps choice is not something that we should seek from what we are given. Perhaps choice is something we have to take, whether it is given to us or not.
I understand that there are many parts of life that are accidents of birth – where one is born, to whom one is born to, and the environment that helps to raise a person. And like it or not, whether we choose to conform to these things or oppose them, it would seem that most people still have these accidents of birth as their foundation. And our approach to our accidents of birth can sometimes cause us to attempt to supposedly find ourselves, and to find meaning in our lives; meaning within the context of the parameters of the accidents that we either conform to or oppose.
Being a “religious person” in the twenty-first century, I have often been told of how religion restricts individuals. And I suppose any institution, religious or otherwise can do just that. But I find most aspects to society more restrictive than religion, at least with regard the Catholic dogma that I am accustomed to, and the spirituality that I embody within that faith. I would even go as far as saying it is one of the few places I have found any freedom at all in discovering myself because of the consciousness of authentic free will. In most other places – I have felt a pressure to conform, to play an assigned role, to see myself only within certain parameters.
And perhaps above all, what I have learned most – one of the few things I learned from following my dogma – and in my limited experience on earth, is that I have choices. I have the capacity to be more than what I see or feel around me. I have the freedom to be who I choose to be, to a large extent.. Perhaps we do not control much else; perhaps. But if there is anything our free will should teach us, it is that we can control who we choose to be; we can control who we are, at least to some extent. So maybe we should ascribe to that perspective that we do not find ourselves, but create ourselves. Maybe we should stop looking for ourselves and simply choose to be whoever we choose to be. And then have the courage to say that who we are is our choice.