As I’ve mentioned before I’ve really never bought into the notion of God micro-managing our lives. Some believe that God cares or has even pre-ordained what color socks we wear today. I grew to become more of a Deist in my thinking choosing to not give God credit or blame for every little thing that comes along. However, recently I have been coming to the conclusion that we choose our lives. Not necessarily every little detail, but we choose the basics- our family, the place we will be born, our children, our parents and major life events like illness, difficulties, birth and even death.
Why then would anyone choose a difficult life? Why would anyone choose a short life? Why would anyone choose to be poor? The point of coming to Earth is to learn and to grow and we learn and we grow when we face and overcome difficulties. If we never faced any challenges, we could not grow.
A long time ago, my fiance and I were discussing being born black. This was before I believed in pre-existence, but I can clearly recall saying to her (over 30 years ago) “Why would anyone choose to be born black? If I were looking down at the Earth from Heaven, I would choose to be white.” It’s just an easier existence. But, about 10 years after that I realized that being born black was not the burden I thought it was. Being born black helped me develop character, compassion, patience, empathy. It made me work harder. It made me a stronger person. Being born black was not a curse, it was a blessing. When I got divorced, I thought it was the worse possible thing that could have happened to me, but being divorced was a character developing event in my life that made me the husband I am today and have been for the past 25 years.
Then, I look back on some decisions I made where I chose challenges. I graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA and I hardly studied. High school was a snap for me. When I went to college, I thought “I have all of this brain capacity, I should put it to the test.” So I chose the most difficult major I could think of- Chemical Engineering. I graduated and had a cushy engineering job where I could have easily stayed the rest of my career and probably done quite well, but I chose to leave that job and go into sales. I was a black kid in Lexington, KY selling computers in the early 1980s. I had no sales experience. Every single one of my customers was an old white guy. I figured I’d either have to learn the job or get fired. That was great motivation and I grew tremendously in that career. But, sales wasn’t enough. Twenty five years after that I quit my sales job and started my own company. It’s been a struggle. The last few years especially have been challenging, but it’s what I chose to do.
Many years ago I realized that, in the Bible, if you were “chosen”, look out. Israel is God’s chosen people. Look how they’ve suffered. Job was chosen to make a point. Job suffered tremendously (yes, I know Job is a fictional character) David, Moses, Hosea (who was told to marry an unfaithful prostitute), they all suffered. Jesus. Wow. Did Jesus suffer. Going to modern times- Martin Luther King. He’s a hero now, but during his day he was reviled by millions and he was shot dead while he still had a young wife and small children. Yeah, we consider his life blessed and a blessing now, but I don’t think Coretta Scott King would have said they were blessed in April 1968.
I truly believe that there are chosen people, but who does the choosing? Does God tap us and put us in these situations without our knowledge or consent? Many believe that. Or, as many who claim to have made contact with those on the other side and who have brought up past life and between life memories tell us, do we do the choosing? The girls told us long ago that they looked down from heaven and chose our family. At the time, I chose to believe what they said and they did not get that notion from me because it hadn’t even occurred to me at the time.
Did Shayna, Ty, Kayla and I agree to this? Yesterday as Ty and I wrestled with the one question that keeps coming back to us even thought we have discussed and agreed to the futility of it, “Why?”, she mentioned that she keeps getting the sense God is punishing us. I reject that. First of all, God does not punish people. And He certainly doesn’t punish them by killing their children. Second, we have done nothing to deserve this type of punishment. I do keep asking God why. I can’t help it. I’m a human being. My mind wants to make sense from all of this chaos. The answer that keeps coming back to me, and in my mind it’s being whispered by Shayna who sits just behind my head over my right shoulder, “You signed up for this, Daddy.” It’s not that I’m being punished. It’s not that God is putting this on me. I, correction- we, chose this. Now, at times this brings me some degree of comfort. In my more lucid, rational moments, I can accept that we signed up for this as part of the deal of coming here and we knew it would help us to grow and help others. If we are truly eternal beings having an experience. If truly no permanent harm can come to us, being here is kind of like going to a movie or being on a roller coaster. We get the thrills of being scared, but we are in no real danger. When we wake up (die), we say “Wow! That was quite a ride.” But, most of the time, right now, I just say “What the hell was I thinking when I signed up for this?”