I should probably begin by saying that I do not believe in fate, destiny or that anything is “meant to be”. These imply purpose, which implies the presence and interference of external, supernatural forces in our lives. Anyone who reads here regularly will know that I file that sort of thing under the heading of bollocks, and more specifically, woo.
My disclaimer out of the way, it’s not really the point of this post. It’s not about criticizing people’s general belief in destiny, the stars or the Fates all of which henceforth I will refer to as “fate”, for the sake of simplicity.
There is one aspect of these beliefs, though, that’s been bugging me for quite a while, and I think it’s time I share my thoughts on the subject.
When recounting failed, broken or forgotten relationships, people who believe in fate often say things like, “It wasn’t meant to be”, or “It was only meant to be for a season” and other words to that effect.
It’s true that not all friendships last for ever, and that there’s not always a guilty party or someone to blame. People change and grow throughout life, not always at the same pace or in the same direction. This often leads to a parting of ways. Sometimes the parting is painful; sometimes it’s done with cherished memories and no hard feelings. Occasionally, the parting occurs without either party taking much notice at all. It depends upon the individual relationships and their dynamics.
Some fate-believing people, however, have a (very calloused) knack for categorizing every broken relationship as “not meant to be”. Even when the people with whom they have parted ways express pain or hurt feelings, certain fatalists refuse to take responsibility for their own behavior and how it can affect and even destroy friendship after friendship, relationship after relationship. Fate is at work, after all, and it was only meant to be for a season.
What a total crock!
This is often nothing more than the refusal to look honestly at oneself and own up to being insensitive, uncaring and selfish; a direct desire to avoid having been part of the reason for a life-long series of broken relationships.
The slightly amusing part is that, more often than not in my experience, we see this kind of behavior in people who claim to be deeply introspective and highly enlightened. I wonder how many of them would recognize themselves from someone else’s perspective; assuming, of course, that they actually have the ability to see things from someone else’s viewpoint.
Friendship needs to be nurtured and cared for: it requires mutual respect and consideration. It’s give and take, and that doesn’t mean one person does all the talking while the other does all the listening.
People who can leave others wounded in the wake of their self-centeredness, time and again, who can write off every failed relationship as “only meant to be for a season”, have no idea what true friendship is about. In a way, I pity them, for they may never experience the joy of true friendship, as I have.
There is a comfort in being loved and accepted in spite of, or perhaps even because of, your quirks and idiosyncrasies. There is a contentment in giving, if only by making a friend laugh, or reminding her how much she is cherished.
So, believe in fate all you please, but don’t use it as an escape hatch from the sinking ship of your own inability in relationships. Some friendships can last for ever, but they require far more than ‘the stars’ to make them shine.