I cannot now recall the last time I gripped my fingers to the edge of a bridge and cautiously peered over the railing to survey the roaring water below. It is an arresting exercise as I am sure you know. One can so easily loose oneself in the turbulence. Yet if it were not for the gushing current I suspect one’s interest in what is going on below would be more romantic than inspiring. The gurgle of a shallow stream might instead blend with the chirping of the birds. The adage about “water under the bridge” refers to events in the past that should not be worrisome because they happened a long time ago and cannot now be changed. This doesn’t however alter the intrigue concerning what did in fact occur in the past, happily or not. And just what if anything should linger as a concern or otherwise.
The river of life wends an extraordinary path by any measure. Yet as much as I prefer to fashion my growth and development as the abundance of my own nutrition and planning, increasingly I am having to confront the less than complimentary reality that my being – like that of most people in the world – is very much a product of external forces. It is for example jarring to contemplate the strength of one’s convictions if one were born into a different religion; or a different race; or a different class. Those elements are examples of what may collectively be called “chance”.
More and more I am inclined to acknowledge my dependence on chance while at the same time defining my personality by the manner in which I absorb its characteristic features. I clearly have very little dominion over the particular nature of chance and what capital it has afforded me. But I am capable of defining and manipulating how I see it and how I handle it. I needn’t be entirely marked by cookie-cutter design.