I’ve been a fool…
It’s a foolish farmer who forgets what seeds he sowed in spring, then is startled when such and such sprouts fill his fields in fall.
With the currency of choices, from the cashier of ignorance, I’ve purchased each part of my "destiny".
Round and around, the choices come back to me in twisted forms — the haunted carousel of karma.
Yet, there has always been the soft light glowing from that open doorway in the corner…
The only redemption from this pitiable cycle, and the only positive return…
…is service to God and God’s Messiah.
I looked at old, old, old Lam Hoi Ching’s pictures today… her growing family.
I once declared it a mistake, but now — if pictures don’t lie — it has become her happiness.
Well, time turns things upside down… time and diligence.
I found an interesting article some days ago written by some… Assembly of God Christian, repeating one of my earlier criticisms of modern Christianity: that belief alone cannot save. I’m not sure if this is their common doctrine or a recent idea, but it was refreshing to see the shared understanding, anyway.
Last Wednesday as I took the train home in the evening, a man got on with his two young sons and a very small daughter. He had somewhat short brown hair and a short beard, as if unshaven. He was quite thin. He had no smile, and he looked tired. He sat the three kids down across the aisle ahead of me, then changed their places when one complained. The backs of their seats were toward me; the seats were all facing the back of the train.
I watched them, wondering if the man would show any regret of his burden. Instead, I heard him respond very softly to their questions and comments. He began to play with the daughter, but gave attention to each of them in turn.
As the train went, I thought twice. Maybe it wasn’t tiredness, but calmness.
When the kids became more energetic, I waited for his scolding — but it didn’t come. He simply talked quietly with them. The older son wanted to change seats and come sit with him.
Not once did I see anything but happiness between the four of them.
The daughter at one point knew I was there, and watched me back…
My stop came first. I chose the farther exit so I could pass them on my way out. As I did, the kids glanced up at me (I was carrying my stop sign).
I stepped down off that train car… nearly overwhelmed. Watching that father, you know… …he looked like Jesus. I could feel the largeness of his heart. I walked away thinking, "…That was a miracle…"
School ended very, very abruptly on Friday after my art history test. I was left with the feeling that I had been running a race and had just gotten my second wind… and then suddenly I was already going over the finish line. I wanted to kep running. I wanted to go home and study more for another test on Saturday… maybe throw together some more hurried assignments or essays… or memorize some facts…
I still have this next week of crossing, and then a two-week break from it.
In fact, I have to go now for the afternoon shift. I’ll finish this when I come back.
On Monday I talked with Bolivian Anneliz Lopez. She told me about her childhood visits to Mt. Illimani with her mother, about Chile’s seizure of Bolivian land, and about their Evo Morales, a popular native president deluded by Socialism whose policies had in effect driven Anneliz to this school. About 55% of Bolivian’s nine million are native Quechua or Aymara, and 15% are Spanish. Most of the remainder are mixed.
Anneliz also mentioned (while talking about her spending habits) that she had bought some chocolates to give to her demoralized roommate, a Korean, who felt that people didn’t like her, or something… It came up that she was boarding at the Gateway with old Marcella… as well as… Bomie… and her friend from Korea who now studies English in Provo. "Is it Heehyun?" I asked. She was surprised that I knew. I confessed that I and Bomie used to be very close…
Anyway, it was nice getting to know her better.
It matters very little, in the end. Someday, by chance, I’ll come across some pictures of Bomie’s growing family, also…
I was very wrong to have ever thought I deserved to be with one of these girls belonging to another guy, to interrupt her rejoicing.
So, after these blunders, it becomes easier to deny the confused advances of any pre-wives who impatiently expect any substitute concern out of me. Even if they can’t see their futures, I can, and I ought not interfere with them any more.
Sister Lam had always had this potential future that I browsed today…
…I was so wrong to bet my heart against it.
And… statistically… all girls on this planet, except only one… have a potential future that does not include me. I roughly estimate there’s a little over three ten-millionths of a percent (0.0000003%) of a chance that any given girl on the planet will actually be my wife, and not the wife of some other guy. That’s not one in a million — that’s one in over 300 million. Now, let’s Excel this. I can perhaps make eye contact with… oh… let’s exaggerate and say… on average… 50 new, original, unique, not-yet-seen females per day. Just eye contact; or even one-way eye contact. Let’s say 100, to account for the thousands more I see in Asia. Now, that’s too high, yes; probably it’s more like 15 or 25 because of repeats, and because I’m not out every day. But we’ll just say I’m in the reasonable vicinity of 100 unique girls every day. Now, giving me 40 years of marriageability — heck, give me 50 years — and that’s over 1.8 million girls I might have the tiniest degree of contact with, in my life.
You know, give me the full 70 years to include my childhood associations. That’s over 2.5 million girls that there is any possibility I will become acquainted with in my life, out of the 300 million I’d have to come across before meeting "my" wife.
Now, let’s gamble. Let’s say that I could meet THE one if I had even a 40% chance of it. Well, because I’m attractive and my wife is attractive, let’s say we could meet up even with a 15% chance. Let’s say a 10% chance, because I’m a lucky guy — well, because I pay my tithing. (Now, I’m not counting only member girls here. As we saw with Bomie, the Spirit, love, and patience — along with solid logic and a helping of handsome Church guys — can bring a girl into the Church. Yes, before marriage.)
So, that’s… nearly 12 of my lifetimes I’d have to live before reaching that 10% chance and winning the prize of a soul mate. By soul mate, I only mean somebody who’s not already going to be happy (or otherwise) with some other husband.
…And that’s clearly impossible. And nobody gets such terrible odds anyway, or we’d already be extinct.
So then, the premise is wrong, that I could only marry a girl who’s not going to marry somebody else.
Then, it’s also wrong that I shouldn’t have liked Lam Hoi Ching or Bomie or them, just because they had a potential husband and baby.
…the odds are fixed. If somebody with power is guiding people together, why then, even three ten-millionths of a percent of a chance would necessarily occur. It’s the same principle as biogenesis, and evolution. If there WERE some great computer brain in another dimension that could magnify probabilities… or direct outcomes… then love is still possible with a "soul mate".
Otherwise, there is no soul mate, and all these silly, confused Church girls I hear telling about their "just strong feelings" that some guy (whom they already met and interacted with against all odds) is "right" are as thoughtless as I think they are. In that case, the "Spencer Kimball Scenario", the prize just goes to the winner; and Sister Lam just went to that apparent non-member dude because of her anti-non-Chinese racism and because he made up his mind to proselytize her, and succeeded. Any other guy off a Hong Kong street could’ve also had a good shot at it.
So is there destiny in love, or isn’t there? It’s the same question as free will against God’s foreknowledge. How did that go…?
Didn’t that go that… free will is a local phenomenon, only in our own minds because we can’t see the hands or the threads?
But… determinism isn’t justice… No punishment can rightly befall a puppet…
Well, it’s already clear from the outset that God upholds choices, because otherwise, he would never have given a single commandment. A commandment is a request to obey, an advisement, or a legal stipulation. Punitive laws only physically exist once they are broken — in a sense, they are "made to be broken", and made to explode in the hands of the breaker till he either learns to keep them, or loses his hands. Breaking laws is nothing less nor more than thoughtlessly swallowing doses of poison; and the "poisons" are only chemicals meant to bless us in non-digestive ways.
Then there are other procedural laws, the keeping of which brings a positive effect, unknown to the neutral being… So beside the poisons, there are nutrients to consume for growth, the lack of which will stunt our development.
Anyway, if free will exists, then God cannot foreknow. He may predict with full understanding, arrange with supreme vantage, and react with instant concurrence. But he, our father, treats us in matters of personal sovereignty as future equals.
Then, applied to love… my last conclusion agrees with my first observation: that God can put together and pull apart, according to his better ideas — but cannot force the human heart. And he can guard a particular bloodline only so far as the highest probability permits… and then, as absolute ruler, respond as he wishes.
But who needs to force the heart, really? Get it going, and it forces itself. The trick is to stop it, to control it, like we harness the terrible forces of water with pipes and taps for our daily blessing. God would have an easy task in arranging our marriages, since people with healthy minds naturally love other people. And for the benefit of gays and flirts, let me assure you that… there is only one kind of love. (And the corollary is that marriage is not a contract of love, but of eternal family.)
So then… I loved those who could have loved me, but who chose not to. We weren’t meant to be together, but we were placed near to each other, to unite if we were willing. Neither were we meant to be apart — but we were separated, to see if we would choose others. We reacted to our stimuli with our free choices. I chose them, but I failed to persuade them, and so I lost them. And my failures are only reflections of my primary failure… to serve God… in my holy calling.
After work today (both shifts), I stopped at this language school, U.S. Ling, where I’d visited a week or two ago to ask which languages they taught. In the morning, a bunch of students showed up and were waiting around for English class. The teacher/director came late and went immediately to class. In the afternoon, she was alone in the dark office. I asked if it was closed and she said it was, although she continued talking to me. (They apparently are understaffed and can’t keep their own office hours). I was informed that their only non-English programs were Russian and Spanish… Somehow, on the first visit, I’d gotten the wrong idea that they had teachers of other languages there…
Yesterday after school, I went back to the VA Hospital nursing home. From there I went to work, then returned to the facility for dinner time. Since my last visit at the start of November, one man had gone back upstairs from the lower Alzheimer’s floor, one newcomer had arrived, and one had died.