Two years ago I stopped trying to control my future.
I was invited to a scholarship dinner at United. I arrived not knowing anyone. As I scanned the room for somewhere to sit, I saw a super cute girl sitting at the table closest to me. Next to her was an open seat. I thought for a second. Then something seemed to force my feet towards that open seat.
A week later, I headed to St. Louis for a United Methodist event called Exploration. Guess who was waiting for me at the baggage claim? Well, actually a whole team of people were waiting for me, but one person in particular stood out: that same girl from the scholarship dinner.
Well, as it turns out, I ended up marrying that girl.
Two years later, we’re heading to Exploration again, but this time I’m carrying the luggage. (The good news is that we get to share a hotel room.)
Please note, if this is your first time to Exploration and you’re single, I’m not suggesting that you expect similar results. In fact, I don’t recommend expecting a whole lot of anything anymore. I’ve found expectations to be far less interesting than reality.
There’s an ice-breaker I love to use with new groups. In it, each person shares two facts about themselves and then one lie. Then the other people in the group try to determine which statement is the lie. There’s a simple secret to figuring out which is the lie: most lies are boring, include less details, and seem “normal.” That’s why they say “truth is stranger than fiction.”
It’s the real stuff—even the painful stuff, at times—that makes life full and complete. It’s the things we couldn’t plan for that often give our life purpose.
You can’t manufacture your future. Even if you could, why would you want to?
I hope that when you are faced with an open seat, you don’t get lost dreaming about the future. Dreams are great for districting you from the present, but that seat might not be open tomorrow. Take it today. Who knows what will happen.