SC and I were talking about passion and fulfillment and the like the other day. At one point, SC asked if I’d seen the John Cusack movie, Serendipity. While I had been to Serendipity as a kid for a delicious ice cream sundae, I had not seen the movie. Something about it seemed too, oh, I don’t know… serendipitous, maybe.
Bad joke, I know.
SC explained a scene in the movie where the chronically irritating even when not intentionally playing an asshole, Jeremy Pivens, wrote Cusack’s character’s obituary. In the obit…
Pivens’ character explains how Cusack’s character determined that life is not a series of “meaningless accidents” or “coincidences,” but is instead a “tapestry of events” that culminates in “a sublime plan.” That, ultimately, life is about fate or destiny, not serendipity – if you will – at all.
I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, but I found the conversation and the obit scene thought provoking.
Okay, so the Cusack movie is about love and soul mates and romantic destiny and stuff. I don’t really want to go down this road, but want to broaden out this idea a little.
[Sidebar: It’s not that I don’t believe in soul mates; I think I do. But I’m not sold on the idea that we each have one soul mate out there who is intended to be our best, most passionate, most whatever lover. I think that’s possible (Jesus, anything’s possible), but my idea of soul mates, if such a thing exists, doesn’t stop with the romantic fairy tale. For me, I think it’s more likely that we have more than one soul mate and that such a relationship is more likely to come in the form of a friendship than anything else. Whatever, I know people disagree with this concept, but so it goes.]
I often find myself saying (and, coincidentally, actually meaning) things like “it was meant to be”; or the alternative, “it wasn’t meant to be.” And I believe that, because of certain decisions I made at a given crossroads (do I take this job or that one; do I move to another city; do I go to law school; do I stay in a relationship?), I encountered a person or an event or a challenge that would change me, teach me, help me grow, etc. In my mind, it was that person or that lesson learned that made the crossroads meaningful, fulfilling, and good – even, or most especially, when the actuality of or the decision at the crossroads hurt the most.
Whether all of this is part of some “sublime plan”, I don’t know. I guess I’m not ready to say that we don’t participate in our own lives. That somewhere there is a master book of what our lives will become and that we are merely being prodded or propelled toward our destinies. I believe in free will a little too much for that. But I do think that it is how we handle the crossroads, how we handle the high highs and the low lows, that make our lives what they are. The “tapestry of events”, if you will.
Or perhaps this is just how I – and so many others – rationalize the irrational, try to know the unknowable, try to understand the supremely complicated.
Or this is just the latest example of me reading too much into a John Cusack movie…. Yeah, that might be it.