Saturday, March 24, 2007

Choice

There's been a lot of talk lately within my circle of friends about Fate and Destiny, one's lot in life and how most of it is just dumb luck. The context is usually that we should feel lucky and not take our wonderful lives for granted, a common example being that we are lucky to be well off, well educated, and living in a country that despite its faults, is a great place to live in and truly a land of opportunity.

While I agree that I had nothing to do with any of that, instead of giving dumb luck all the credit, I decided to dig deeper. I did not choose the comfort and wealth of opportunities I've enjoyed, nor did I choose to be born in the US where those items are more easily had. My parents chose them for me. They chose to work hard for themselves and their children. They chose to give up a life near their families and everything familiar in Taiwan and move here because they wanted my sister and me to enjoy the fruits of this country and their labor. My parents, in turn, were afforded this option by their parents, who worked hard to provide and educate their children. Their parents did the same.

The chain goes on and on into the past. I did not just get lucky, a great many people worked hard to make it this way for me. It's no wonder some cultures worship their ancestors. They recognize that their forebears had as much to do with their current circumstance as any of the gods that control the wind, the land, and the sea. Believing that our lives were completely ruled by fate, destiny, or luck would be giving far too little credit to ourselves and to others in our lives. Though much of our given lot in life is ultimately out of our control, we must remember that the deck can be stacked and that behind every card played, there is a human choice.