In the movie ‘Serendipity’, John Cusack’s character, Jonathan, has his (somewhat premature) obituary handed to him by his friend, the obituary writer for the New York Times. The movie itself is a riff on destiny and fate, on whether there is something more than just random chance involved in our lives. Part of the obituary read
“Ultimately Jonathan concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call ‘fatum’, what we currently refer to as ‘destiny’.”
“Serendipity” remains one of my favourite movies, because it echoes my belief that there’s something more involved in life – that there is something more than the cold hearted cruelty of blind chance at work here. Whether we call it ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’, ‘the Universe’ or ‘God’, it seems to me that there is something more going on than might immediately meet our eyes – that there is indeed a pattern running through our lives – as Jonathan’s epitaph goes on to say:
“Life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Rather, it’s a tapestry of events that culminate together in an exquisite, sublime plan”.
As I look back on the events of my life, I could choose to see many of them as unmitigated disasters – moments that have plunged me into despair and left me feeling lost, helpless, confused, and alone. Or I could choose to see the warp and woof of divine destiny threading through each of them: and the longer I reflect on events, the more I can see them fit together, that at the back of them is a beautiful design – a pattern that has helped me to be where I am and freed me to do what I am doing.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of the tragedies of our lives, so hung up on the drama of the moment, that we fail to step back and look at what is being woven out of what seems like chaos and mayhem.
The book of Isaiah promises:
“Those who grieve will receive a crown of beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, and thankfulness instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3)
– and it seems that when we take a moment to step back, to reflect.. or when we look back at what has happened and where you’ve come from – that everything is working out in a harmony of perfection.
I don’t know if you’re going through a time where everything seems chaotic right now, where it seems that life is sucking your very soul out, and where malign events are piling up one after the other – but I will tell you this… what is happening will, in the end, prove to be for your ultimate wellbeing and for the welfare of your soul.. so have faith that there is meaning in the chaos – and if you find it difficult to find that faith, then, if only for a moment, lean on mine.
PS. That is SO not what I sat down to write this evening… but I hope it has meaning for you. We might get on to what I planned to write – tomorrow!