I used to think I had a destiny.
I guess sometimes I think I still do. But not often.
Destiny. A feeling like life is taking you somewhere. But not just somewhere, but an important somewhere.
Adults used to say, “God has a plan for you.” And it was a big plan, for big things. And I thought I would be an important person. I would change the world. People would know who I was, and care.
The typical movie star line is, “don’t you know who I am.” And as a child growing up, I used to think it often. At times and places completely absurd to me in retrospection. I would think, “they don’t know who I am.” As if they would treat me different if they knew “who I was.”
I always thought the destiny the adults around me believed God had for me was religious. And as I grew and moved away from religion I stopped believing. If I wasn’t going to be the great preacher. If I wasn’t going to be a prophet. If I wasn’t going to be the next savior of the world. Then I would be nobody. And I started to believe I was nobody.
When I was still young enough to play. I would sometimes pretend to be a rich man. Walking with leisure around the house. All I had to do was think of what I wanted and it would be mine. Or I would pretend to be a hotel owner. And I would draw up buildings on paper, with a city name underneath.
I would open one in Salt Lake City, and then Reno, and then Sacramento, and then Boston and on and on. This may be where I started to love maps. (But maps also represented a world outside my world, to explore.)
Going to school, not doing well in class and the other kids. Little by little my destiny began to fade. Until I started to think I was destined for something completely different. The adults around me weren’t saying how great I would be anymore.
And I wasn’t thinking it anymore.
But sometimes it is different. There are times of light. Where I think for a moment about my life. And I think all the hard things, all the poverty and problems. I think it was all in preparation for something big. Something in the future where having those lessons will help me. Where knowing hunger. Where knowing hard work. Where having chopped wood and carried water will make me the person I need to be for a great accomplishment.
Sometimes it feels like it is right around the corner. And sometimes it feels like it is miles down the road. A dirt road, which get lost in the rocks and weeds.
Sometimes it feels like it will never happen. My ship won’t come in. I will be laying on my death bed with nothing accomplished in my life. So far I have nothing.
Destiny. It can be the hope to carry on further. A light house in a dark and lonely night. But it can also make the darkness and loneliness so much colder. If instead of being out by yourself on the beach. You should be in the lighthouse. You should be pointing the light. And you’re not. And you’re a failure. You had a destiny. God made you special and you messed it all up.
Disappointed yourself and God.
But destiny also feels more like destiny in hind-sight. When I first moved to Wyoming for a job. I thought it was destiny I had traveled through the same area years before. It made me feel more comfortable. And the whole expedition of traveling gave me confidence. Which I used to step out for my new job. And I got fired. Thanks destiny.
But who knows how the pieces of our lives might come together. You have two friends. One day they meet and find they both know you. One thing leads to another and they become friends.
You take a new job. And you find skills from your old job are useful in ways you didn’t imagine. You find experiences in your life taught you lessons. And for a moment life is a giant puzzle. And each thing you have done in your life is a puzzle. And it created a life which couldn’t have been created by making other choices.
It is your life and you are living it. Maybe this is our only destiny. The greatest thing we can do for the world. By being ourselves we make it easier for other people to be themselves. Courage and conviction spread like the common cold.
But, just in case my destiny is something more. And one day I make it big. Tell me about how you read this now, and I’ll share the wealth.