Shards of Consciousness

The Opportunity of Unintended Consequences (Redux)

In my last article I talked about how our every action and thought has consequences, some that we can foresee and plan for and others that happen without anyone ever having an inkling they're waiting just around the corner. The example I gave - the destruction of a wood leading to problems with fleas - wasn't the most positive in the world. Today I want to talk about meeting my wife.

Act On Your Goals

I've mentioned that I was stationed in Tampa, Florida while I was in the Air Force. One of the guys I met there was from Pennsylvania. He got out of the service before I did and went back home. After I got out I didn't want to move back to Illinois so I stayed in Tampa. I wasn't really happy there, though.

One day my friend told me the power plant he worked at was hiring security guards. Not being happy in Florida, I thought about it and finally moved to Pennsylvania. By the time I got here the plant wasn't hiring anymore, and there not being much call for missile repairmen in the area, I got a job as a maintenance man at a local McDonald's. It was there that I met my first wife.

We weren't married long, only four or five years (yes, I really am that bad with time and dates). It was long enough to learn the feeling of love and have two wonderful boys. I wouldn't change anything.

During this time my friend also got involved with someone. I didn't really like her much at first, but I wasn't involved with her, was I? My friend and she decided to get married, and he asked me to be Best Man at his wedding. They did and I was and I was married to my bride and he to his.They had a son, the proverbial apple of her eye. I have not yet to this day seen two people bonded more closely.

As with so many of us today, their marriage didn't work out either, so a year or so after my wife and I divorced, so did my friend and his wife. Their son stayed with her, and, as our sons had known each other since their births, I continued to visit her so the boys could play.

One day I looked at her and asked "How did we get here?" "I dreamed you", she replied. It wasn't long after that we got married, just a short seventeen years and one more daughter ago.

Be Open To The Consequences

Now the point of all this isn't really the story of my life. The point is the pattern of unintended consequences. I had plans and goals in this story, but the important results of pursuing these had nothing to do with the conscious goals. I loved, learned, and grew because I was open to the unintended consequences of my actions. I didn't shut myself down and say This isn't in my plans. I'm not going to have anything to do with it.

I don't believe in accidents (accidents are free to not believe in me, either, if they wish). Look back on your life and you will see the seemingly random events and 'coincidences', the untintended consequences of your actions and the events around you, that have shaped where you are now and how you got there. These are the connections, the tissues of relationships, that you use to create your life. Be open to them. Don't be afraid to follow them.

What unintended consequences have shaped your life?

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