In business school today discussing a case, I asked the professor why the seemingly simple solutions we all would have done weren’t put into action. He talked about human flaws and our bounded rationality. A classmate talked about how much more complex the information was than what was presented in the case and how people will never have really perfect information. Afterwards, some friends and I discussed this difficulty and what it means for life. i felt very frustrated that no one seemed to have a good answer about how to make good decisions and have a good life. Especially considering the weighty questions of choosing a career, work-life balance, and finding love.
My friend said to m that the fact there is so much we don’t know and can’t plan is “the charm of life.” There is no simple equation, ancient proverb, or fool-proof management theory to make living easy and happiness guaranteed. As I had mentioned to the professor about the decision making process, we can’t know the result but at least we can be guided by a higher set of values in making our choice, believing in the choice itself as well as hoping for the desired outcome. Hope is the key word here.
Life is a lot about context, and randomness, and luck. Destiny is a very real force, and if you will, we are guided by the hands of God. It is so tempting, when you feel the brush of an angel’s wing on your shoulder in a moment of sheer blessing and aliveness, to hold on to that flying being and keep it on the ground, to hold it down and ask when and why and how. If he takes you in his arms, we want to ask, “Where are you taking me?” and be filled with fright rather than enjoy the ride. Bad things happen, and we question and dissect and analyze and hold on to them too long, but it is really that when fate strikes and something positive comes along that this temptation is the greatest. It is so much more intuitive to let go of what seems bad than of what brings joy.
But the truth is, whether we perceive it or not, we are always gliding on angels’ wings. We are never on our own in a machinical universe of sheer and simple cause and effect. let me repeat: you are never alone. So even in that valley of the shadow of death, do not be afraid. When the angels appear in every part of the Bible, this is the first thing they say to the confused, bewildered, and exceptionally good people they encounter.In the moment of utmost blessedness, some part of our humanity feels great fear with this unexpected stretch of path. If you are familiar with the poem about footprints (http://www.footprints-inthe-sand.com/index.php?page=Poem/Poem.php) this is the part where God picks you up and carries you. Maybe it is not just in dark times, but in times of greatest light and love when we are too happy to realize we have been carried to heaven.
In any case, be not afraid in the face of all of the things you can’t control. It is easy to fear failure, easy to plan and strategize and overthink, easy to grasp for control and call it self-mastery. But the truth is, we are called to something much greater than being masters of our own destiny. Yes, we who are little less than gods are not just atomistic individuals floating along, in a game of life like chess or predictably hitting a ping pong ball. Instead, we are part of an unseen, unknown whole that can’t be proven and must be felt, with that part of you that goes beyond just you yet is your greatest self. O ye of little faith, stop trying. And try harder to let go, to have faith, to accept. Act in righteousness, in accordance with your values, and each miniscule brushstroke will yield a masterpiece you cannot yet see and haven’t even begun to dream.
Disney tells us:
“Fate is kind, she brings to those who love, the sweet fulfillment of, their secret longings.”
So just hope, and know that your expectations may not be met, but your faith is never in vain.