I believe in pre-destination. It’s true. I won’t deny it. That’s not to say I believe that every human on this earth has a defined plan by which they will live their lives, without ever deviating from the plan or making a choice for themselves. I don’t believe that every man who is rich and successful became rich and successful because he was destined to, or that every man who begs for change on a street corner had no other option. That idea is unimaginative and pessimistic. I believe in something more powerful. I believe that we have a hand in making the plan.
Consider a tangible example of my belief. Imagine yourself at the beginning of a journey, backpack secured and laces tied tight, ready for whatever adventure awaits. You set out on foot towards the base of a mountain and as you begin to notice the incline, a path presents itself before you. You see two options: the left path and the right path. After some deliberation, you choose the left path, or the right path, or neither and you run screaming down what little of the mountain you have surmounted. As you continue your journey, the process repeats itself and you turn left, then right, then go back, then right, until the memory of that first choice is just a distant recollection.
To me, our lives are represented by this journey up the mountain. To be successful, we must climb the mountain and push on diligently when we feel the weight of our burden, striving constantly to reach the summit where we can then gaze out on the horizon and see the path from which we’ve come. I believe our lives are pre-determined as far as the choices that are presented to us on the journey. We make a million, or even a billion, different choices along the way that all individually affect the way we reach the top.
In order to ensure success at each fork in the road, we take the path that suits our needs best. Less steep when we are tired and weary from a previous challenge. More steep when we seek to gain higher ground quickly. We might even trudge along on the easiest path available, snaking slowly up the mountain and never changing pace.
The choices we make determine the outcome of our journey. Those who fight hard up the steep, slippery slopes one day choose to set their burden down and enjoy the progress they have made. Others might never reach a point at which they can smile and take pride in themselves. Some might even choose to continue upward until the choice to stop is made for them. I don’t know what the end of the journey is, but I know it isn’t death. In order for a person to be able to set down their burden and take a breath of fresh air, they must simply have reached that point in their journey. As for what comes after this, I am uncertain.
We all start with a burden and the same Nike running shoes on, waiting at the base of the mountain to make tracks toward the future. We pick up different baggage along the way, choosing to jump, run, crawl, or slide. We begin the journey, we make that first choice, and there is a difference. And so, our lives are pre-determined only so much that we are on a path, climbing up a mountain toward a towering peek. The rest is up to us.