There is a pretty large number of things in my life that I cannot explain. Of those things, I attribute a large percentage to some sort of practical decision that was not my own. Imagine if Life and you were playing a board game. But your hands were tied behind your back, and you didn't actually know who Life was, but just sort of watched the pieces move in front of you.
Now imagine that this Life character is God.
There are tons of quotes out there that reflect upon the idea that God is watching out for us in good times and in bad. That no matter how hard the shit hits the fan, no matter how often we stumble in our lives, no matter how often we overlook our virtues, make excuses for ourselves, beat ourselves up with guilt, treat people badly (including ourselves), and destroy pieces of this great Earth that was bestowed upon us, that no matter anything. He is with us.
Last night my brother and I talked about religion. We have different viewpoints, and our experiences with the church and all that being a Catholic entails have been pretty different too. But here are some stories and anecdotes of why I am a believer. There are things that have happened to me that cannot simply be explained by coincidence. There are too many levels of depth, too many unexplainable occurrences. The threads run deep, and often we can't tell when they all come together to make a knot -- but the journey there is certainly a hell of a ride.
The best example is my most recent breakup. I know that has played a large part in the subject matter in this blog for the past few months, but humor me.
After the breakup, I wanted to make sure I wouldn't have to deal with seeing this person who destroyed me all summer, and feverishly applied to a bunch of architecture related jobs so we wouldn't be working at the same place. I embraced a serious grudge into my heart and instead of addressing it, threw myself into schoolwork, and used it to fuel me into my applications. In the grand scheme of things, maybe this wasn't the best but everyone finds their ways to cope. Finals were coming up and I didn't want it to affect that (though I think in some ways it did).
As it turned out I didn't find anything in the job field related to architecture. I was stuck back at the country club. Stuck having to see a person I couldn't stand every day. And I hated every minute of it. I dreaded every single day. I relished my days off and blocked out everything I could at work.
I was still looking for architecture jobs, and but maybe not entirely for the right reasons. I got in contact with a random guy on Twitter, and asked if he was hiring anyone for the summer. He told me he was a one-man operation, but would keep me in mind.
He did tell me about an AIA function though, that he said he could put me down as his guest for. While he personally didn't offer me a job, he thought that maybe I could at least make some connections there. So I got out my finest suit, brought along a notebook and headed up to North Jersey a few days later.
While I was there, I looked at the projects and such but I've never really been good at schmoozing with people that I don't know. I felt a little bit out of my league. Even just hearing the conversations; most of these people were license with projects and more under their belt. Out of nowhere, a tall intimidating man marched right up to me and introduced himself, and commented that I look like a student. I said I was, and I was looking for jobs for the summer.
By the end of the talk, he had given me his contact info, and pretty much told me (as opposed to asking) to come in for an interview the very next day.
I went in the next afternoon, talked with four or five people, and ended up chatting with the HR guy for almost two hours.
Four days later, when I was on vacation, I got a call from the HR rep saying I got the job. Unfortunately, given my long commute (1.5 hours each way) and the poor salary ($10/hr) relative to my current working situation, I was forced to decline, as I really need the money for grad school.
And so I was forced to stay at the country club. I felt good knowing that I could still get a job, though. I've always believed that if I could just get into an interview, I'd get an offer. That was a great boost to my confidence. And even though I'm still at the country club and never ended up landing an architecture job this summer, I'm happy I got one interview under my belt.
But I think that I wasn't supposed to work there. God wanted me to get the job, and feel the elation of earning it with my own skill set and my own interview, but he wanted me to be stuck at Trump. Because he wanted me to learn how to forgive. He wanted me to learn compassion, and to get over the grudge that I harbored so deep inside. And if I just ran away from my problems, yes I would be escaping, but the problem wouldn't be fixed. And I'd end up moving to Oregon already damaged.
Over the past week or so, I've found it in my heart to forgive. And I've made that known to the parties involved. It took a really long time, but I realized that I didn't want to move to the other half of the country without at least attempting amends. It would simply continue to rot me away over time. Maybe the journey doesn't end here. But I think it was definitely one of the key moments.
If we want to get even deeper, we could even say that that particular relationship itself was a gift and a challenge to better myself at communicating in relationships, managing personal space and lives while miles and miles apart; forcing us to become closer through all that we had -- being text messages, voicemails, picture messages, talking on the phone, and Skype.
And even deeper that maybe the reason for that separation in the first place was to gain a more solid appreciation for all those things intangible that happen in a relationship that many people take for granted.
This thread of life is a pretty epic one if I do say so myself. Yet only a small piece of the loom that weaves together to form everything we know as our own respective lives.
Other times, if I just mention them quickly, include that when I prayed I would always feel tingles run down the same places in my body; and know that that was representative of my prayers being heard. Do you know how awesome it is to pray and feel like it's not just you talking to nothing, but rather having a conversation?
Years ago when I used to sail, I used to always feel my grandfather with me. He loved sailing, and when I was out on the boat with the wind in my sails, I could feel him there, smiling. Loving the minute, hearing the water lapping up against the boat as you heeled in the stiff breeze, roasting under the sun but beaming.
Is there such a thing as coincidence? Maybe. Is there a God? Maybe. But whatever you believe in, whatever religion you practice, whether you practice at all or not, one thing can be certain -- there are lessons to be found in those moments will affect your life in ways no one could have expected.