Jen over at Denton Sanatorium posed a question: If you could know what your future holds - good and bad - would you want to know, or would you rather take life as it comes? Would you take your best shot at door 1, 2, or 3 - or would you want a sure thing, a clear choice?
I've been giving this some thought over the past week, as I've had a life changing event happen just last Thursday - my job position being eliminated. It might have been helpful to have seen it coming. It might be helpful to know now what the new position being created will be, and will it even be something I want? I've always been the kind of person who, when knowing a secret becomes possible, NEEDS to know. I know I'd always want to know the sex of an unborn child, just like I've always searched out Christmas gifts in their hiding places, or carefully, furtively, unwrapped them, peeked, and wrapped them back up. (Alas, my family is onto me now and L has my gifts sent to his work. No more peeking.) So if I were given the choice to know the future, or not know, I don't know if I could resist the temptation to peer into it.
Just as well, then, that we don't have the choice. I feel that it would alter our choices. If I'd known that, in the end, my job would be eliminated after 9 years, I doubt I would have tried as hard as I did. And that would have been a shame, because I've learned so much, and become a much more polished person in the process of my education. I've grown to love the people I spend 5 days a week with - my work family. If I'd known it would all end, I might have pulled back, not wanting to feel the sadness I'm feeling now. I'd have lost out on a lot of good stuff. Knowing can keep you safe, but safety doesn't always offer the richest experience.
Having a future be certain and unshakable takes away hope. Sometimes hope is silly and impractical, but it makes your spirit soar and gives you a can-do attitude. If we could see our failures ahead of time, most of us wouldn't put in the time trying - fighting - to make them successes. And we'd lose so many opportunities for growth. Human nature would take over, and we'd naturally turn away from the very situations that would give us the best stories to tell later. Success and happiness aren't necessarily the things that build our characters, and give us strength and resilience. We become strong from trying, and trying again until we get it right - sometimes after many failures and some heartache. We're never sure how many tries it will take to get it right - or even IF we'll ever get it right. But because we don't know for sure, we keep trying. And trying. And trying again.
It's a beautiful lesson to teach our children, and illustrate to them each and every time we get the chance. So many times I've been discouraged, thinking this or that will never work out. And then I'll be inspired by the words and actions of a friend, or even a stranger. And I'll think that I'm not done yet. I can still win. I don't know for sure, but I'll always have my hope. Because no one has revealed a cut and dried future, I can still soar in the belief that anything is possible.