At the age of thirteen I had too much pride to admit that I would cry for my grandma when she died in 2003. That was, until it came to her funeral. Tears poured down my face as if the Hoover Dam had been opened to release Lake Mead upon Las Vegas, my being, shattered into thousands of tiny pieces by the force of it all. I had lost someone dear to me and it changed me from a confident, religious teenager into something I never thought I would become. It changed me to believe against a fundamental principle of my religion, changed me to become less of a follower and more of an individualist.
Growing up Christian, I was taught to believe in a lot of things. I was taught to believe that Jesus Christ is Divine, taught to believe in Holy Communion, taught to believe in Reconciliation. These were beliefs and rituals that I was expected to believe and follow. I was expected to believe that my own destiny had been set. It was God’s “Masterplan” as my parents would say. I believed that everything would work itself it in a predestined manner. My grandmas’ death dragged me away from this belief likely for the rest of my life.
One way I’ve always been able to move on in life has been to talk to my friends. I decided to talk to one of those friends as I began to confront the prospect of not believing in something so vital to my religion. A friend of mine, who happens to be Jewish, had always been helpful in times I needed guidance. I asked him the question on my mind, “What do you think about God’s Masterplan?” His response came quickly and fluently, something that took me entirely by surprise: “I don’t think too much of it. I don’t let it rule my life. I’m the only one that has that power.” He didn’t say much more to me that day. He didn’t have to; I had heard all that I needed to hear.
I knew it now. It was by her own free will that my grandma smoked for so many years, effectively carving out her own death certificate. My friend had shown me that he had made the choice to speak as he did in much the same way she made the choice to smoke. In the same manner that my friend feels, I now feel like I don’t do things just because I am destined to do them, no longer do I let it “rule my life.” I do things because I choose to through my own free will. I’m not saying I don’t believe that everything will eventually work out for the better; I’m only saying the path to that eventuality is not entirely clear or set in stone. It’s not concrete and things change, circumstances change.
I now believe in free will and choice.
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