Free Will and God’s “Suggestions”

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Dear Reader:

Every day I get to see the “Legend of the Confederate Rose” replayed, like in an outdoor drama, for a private audience…me!

You might remember the story (in a nutshell it went like this):

Once the Confederate Rose was pure white. During the Civil War, a soldier was fatally wounded in battle. He fell upon the rose as he lay dying. During the course of the two days he took to die, he bled more and more on the flower, till at last bloom was covered with his blood. When he died, the flower died with him. Thereafter, the Confederate Rose (or Cotton Rose), opens white, and over the course of the two days the bloom lasts, they turn gradually from white to pink to almost red, when the flower finally falls from the bush.

There is so much symbolism with this flower….two days of changing colors, one day of a pure purple/reddish color and then the bloom dies late on the third day.

I have never had anything quite so lovely touch me like this bush….I can hardly wait to rise each morning and check out the pure white blooms and then watch them (over the next two days) change to rose-colored petals. It is a great lesson in change…nothing stays the same…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as wonderful.

I think one of the hardest dilemmas mankind faces, within the restriction of understanding the universe –  God’s Bold, Beautiful Playground of Life, is knowing when to give up our free will in exchange for God’ Guidance? How long do we struggle to force a new change, only to find the doors and windows locked in that direction? It is only later we know God was trying to re-direct our efforts in another way.

When I came across this story…it made me feel better than I am not alone in struggling with these type answers.

“Destiny is Within Us”

I remember walking to the bus stop one day. Sweat was dripping down my chin, while I gazed upon the faded metal bus-stop sign a block away. I saw an unorganized huddle of bodies. A few sat on the wooden bench, staring through the hazy Plexiglas of the awning. I checked my watch and noticed that I was running ahead of schedule. The bus wouldn’t be coming for at least five more minutes.

In that instant, I heard big tires rolling up behind me, the punched-in sound of a clutch cranking into the floor, the shaking of windows as the tires dipped into a small pothole. I quickly turned my head and saw the bus. There was no traffic to slow it down. I was about a block away and stuck between two fateful options.

The first option was to stand there and surrender my fate to the universe. I could repeat to myself, “Oh, well. I guess the universe didn’t want me to catch the bus today,” and regurgitate that famous cliché, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to happen.”

The second option before me was to take my bag, hold on to it a bit tighter, and start running up the block. This option didn’t guarantee that I would catch the bus, but it engaged my free will so that it did not have to breathe in the exhaust of resignation.

Contemplation on choice is sometimes the toughest part of any day. The universe definitely provided some context that made it a bit harder for me to catch the bus, yet still, I could act to change the situation. Sure, that bus came ahead of schedule, but my reaction was what was in my control and what my yoga practice has taught me. My reaction could have been to blame it on the universe, to fall into the trap of “I guess it wasn’t meant to happen.” Or to pick up my heels and start running.

Each moment of life, we set into motion a series of succeeding moments that will ultimately shape our future. It is my choice to either leave my destiny up to the universe or choose to shift my awareness and embrace the knowledge that I am the universe. When this happens, what we previously blame on an outside entity, or “destiny,” is actually something we understand as within us.
The choice is mine. The choice is yours. The choice is ours. 

About the Author: Excerpted from “Your Path to Destiny” by Hawah Kasat.
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From personal experience I have discovered that if we try a different path in life and give it all we have…but it just won’t seem to work , no matter how hard we try…it is then that it is time to ask “Am I forcing this? Is God trying to re-direct my life differently?”
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 I remember when I was pregnant with Mandy, we were looking at a new home in Corey Woods, that was under construction at the time, to move into before Mandy arrived.  We had put a bid on it. Unfortunately there were some financial problems going on in the company and all work stopped. That whole summer before she arrived on Labor Day (pretty good timing) I would ride over and see my dream of a new home fading away with no workers and no additional construction taking place. I cried myself to sleep each night…so disappointed in my dashed dreams of a new home and a new baby and a new life.
Later, we realized it would have been a terrible financial disaster to have gone ahead with this home and by the time Walsh arrived a couple of years later we had found a most beautiful home in Briarwood… that was far superior to the earlier home. It worked out just the way it should have.
So now I am a big believer in doing my part to follow new paths BUT stopping continuously to listen to God’s directions also.
 So until tomorrow…Take time to make room for God’s Voice to be heard when we embark upon a new direction in our lives. He can see farther down the road of life than we can.
“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh
 *When I was visiting Bruce, Marcia, and the boys Sunday…little Lachlan was given a wonderful surprise from big brother…Rutledge…who decided, not only to let him drive his most precious possession of all…his firetruck…but actually went and got the whole outfit for Lachlan to put on. Lachlan was beyond surprised at this “change” in his destiny for sure. A blessing from heaven!
img_3814-11) Lachlan looks a little “befuddled” and slightly “fearful” (at first) as Rutledge allows him to stay on the firetruck when he is caught climbing on big bro’s truck.
2) And then, to his amazement Rutledge reappears with the entire outfit from boots to fire hats. Destiny at its best!
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“I did it”…I rode Rutledge’s truck!”
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“A day that will live in infamy!”

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Free Will and God’s “Suggestions”

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    What a wonderful example of how one person’s thoughtfulness can make all the difference for another. That was such a sweet thing for Rutledge to do. The look on Lachlan’s face is priceless, “Really? you’re serious? coat, boots, and hat too?”

    Like

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