I’m one of those people who believes in destiny. I know it’s not logical. Maybe it’s a crutch for living in an uncertain world. I believe in it because I believe that the future draws us on as long as we have strength to move forward and overcome the obstacles set before us. Who decides our destiny? I’m not sure. Maybe there is some unconscious part of our brain that does. Maybe it’s God.
For a long time I was very convinced that not only did I have a destiny but I knew the script of my life in detail. Throughout my late 20’s and into my mid-30’s I was absolutely convinced that I knew what was going to happen, what I was supposed to do. (This is probably the opposite of most people that age. I always do things backwards.) When that script seemed not to pan out I developed more and more distorted thinking. I alternatively blamed people for my failures and decided that I was too deeply misunderstood and that there would be some moment when everything would turn around and I would be entirely vindicated. None of these things happened. Life went on.
At some point, around age 33 or so, I decided to give up on my script. I moved to a new state and got a new job. I was distracted for a while — too busy to worry about the old script and what I had once thought I was going to be. It only took about a year or so, though, before things settled down. I got into therapy at this point to deal with my anxiety. I learned how to identify and process my feelings. I recognized that there was nothing really wrong with what I had wanted to achieve. The problem was my anxiety and depression over not achieving it yet. And I just couldn’t give up on the idea that I had a destiny. But maybe it wasn’t going to turn out exactly how I’d planned.
My best friend took his own life — convinced that he was a failure in life. He had a conviction of his own life that never matched the reality. Was that his destiny or was it that he had so let others’ expectations of him overshadow his own predisposition that he tried to achieve a destiny that was never his? I’ll never know.
My dream this time was about destiny. I was running down a dark tunnel holding a candle. I held my hand in front of it to keep it blowing out. The tunnel seemed like an old storm drain tunnel. The floor was wet. The candle cast a flickering glow on the walls made of stone. I had the sense that I was alone and that I was running toward something. Maybe I was just trying to get out of the tunnel.
I came to a gate barring the way forward — nearly slammed into it. In frustration I pawed at it, looking for a way through. I felt a low door in it. The door opened and I crawled through the water. Standing I dropped the candle into the water. All went black.
Cursing I ran on into the complete and total blackness. I had the sense of running through empty space. I could see nothing. I only heard the splashes of my feet in the water. I called out into the darkness — “show me the way. Give me a light.”
I felt a response as if to say, “the way forward is the future. It is not for you to see.”
“But how will I know the way?” I answered.
“Continue forward,” it said. “There are no turns. No choices.”
I ran faster and from deep within me I felt a voice say one word: “Trust.”
I relaxed a little but was still tense, peering to see what lay ahead.
“Trust,” it said again.
I realized I didn’t need the candle and, fearlessly, I continued on, trusting in the future.