“Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.” - Jawaharial Nehru, India’s first prime minister
Determinism: The philosophical view that all events are determined completely by previous existing causes. The doctrine that all events are ultimately determined by causes external to free will.
There is a beauty, a relief, in such a philosophy. Everything already determined. A master plan. All we have to do is live, and what is meant to be, will be. Right?
The truth in those words lying in the cards we are dealt. In the hand we are given. A purpose. A meaning. Written in the stars. A destiny from God, the Universe or whatever higher power one believes in. Whatever chose my soul to live this life. To have the experiences I have had. To learn the lessons I have learned, to make the mistakes I have made. To feel the immense joy and all the deep pain.
Each person deliberately placed in my path. Each soul purposefully meant to encounter. To love, to connect with, to feel, to experience.
But my choice to meet the moment. Or my choice to run.
My choice to listen to instinct. To guide me out of the holes. To steer me into safety.
My soul hand picked for this journey, but it being free will that took the wheel.
Guiding me away from those who can hurt me. Into the arms that will love.
Was it all predetermined? Going to happen no matter what?
I don’t know. Maybe?
But all I have known to do is follow such intuition. An instinct that God, or the Universe, gave me. A soul chosen and deemed capable to handle this journey. With eyes above watching me. Entertained along my way. Curious of how I would handle each person. How I would make each choice. All decisions and experiences meant for me to go through. Knowing each individual, each soul, was sent my way. But free will would choose how the encounter would play out with each.
I found solace in this theory when I was first pregnant. Feeling this being developing inside me was hand picked and sent to me. At 11 weeks we found out it was a boy. At 16 weeks we found out something was wrong. The baby wasn’t growing.
“A hiccup.” The doctor called it.
This being, this soul, I carried within was literally shrinking. The heart beat I heard and felt drum inside me was weakening. Slipping away while I still carried him inside.
I had no control. No matter what I ate, what I avoided. How much I laid in bed, how deeply I prayed. How desperately I begged.
I was losing my baby.
The pain was devastating. This soul already giving me the gift of love. A love I never felt before. Never knowing I was capable of such a precious, deep, soulful present. A love I felt with every ounce of me. From every crevice. With every energy that flowed through me.
“It’s not going to make it.” The doctor said. His tone serious. Stoic. Sure.
I walked out of that room in disbelief. Sad. Powerless. As I felt my baby move inside me. Twirling, as if to tell me to stay in the moment. In my body. Where he still existed. It wasn't over. Spend every last second I could appreciating him. Loving him. While we were still together. While we still could. While he was still a part of me. Inside me. Within me. Alive.
That whole next week, I only wanted that baby to feel my love. Nothing else. Nothing else mattered. Except the right here. Right now. This moment. With him.
That week we rested. We listened to music. We walked in parks. We saw sunsets. I felt him. I placed my hand on my belly hoping he could feel me too. But only sending him love. Being present. With him. While I could. Never missing one second of our time together.
A week later, I was back in the same doctor office. I didn’t feel him as I sat on the table.
When the doctor entered, there wasn’t a heart beat.
I got to carry that baby for 5 months inside me. Within me. As part of me.
A soul that was chosen for me. That was meant to be in my life. So sad I lost him, while a part of me grateful I got to feel him. To experience him. It was this theory that pulled me through. Knowing on some level this encounter was meant to happen. He was sent to me. For a reason I had yet to know.
I slowly recovered. Physically. We decided to try one more time. After the first attempt, I was pregnant. A part of me was petrified. While another part of me now knew to not take a single moment for granted.
My choice was to be scared or be present.
To meet the moment. Or to run.
I chose to follow my instinct. Now knowing what both this baby, this being, and I needed was my love. We both needed my presence. A connection with the mother that was chosen to carry this soul. Inside me. Within me. As part of me.
At 11 weeks we found out it was a boy.
The news instantly comforting me.
With every energy in me, believing the soul that was meant for me returned. The same being chosen to be in my life. His soul chosen to be on this journey with me. Hand picked. The first pregnancy being merely a "hiccup". A physical blip.
What I did with that connection, with this parenthood, with that love was my free will. My choice continuing to never miss a conscious second. Deciding all that mattered was love and my presence. To absorb every moment with him inside me. Within me. As part of me.
That boy just turned 9 years old. And not a day goes by that I doubt I was meant to be his mom. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful. That I don’t see the miracle and blessing that he is. That I don't attempt to be present and soak it all in. That I don't recognize the game of life. The reality I can win, lose, bet it all or fold.
The choice how to play is mine.
We may not have any say in the hands we are dealt. In the cards we are given. That could be determinism… but the way we play that hand, the way I have played my hand, has been a hundred percent free will. Its been my choice to be present, to love, to play.