DESTINY OR COINCIDENCE?
Anyone who has read any of my published novels will have spotted that one of the central themes revolves around fate, and they may have wondered if these are concepts close to my heart. Well, I can confirm it’s true. I love a tale where destiny is a strong feature – but where does this passion come from? Well, I’ll get to that in a minute, but first let’s look at the definitions. Destiny is often described as:- ‘… events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.’, or ‘… a hidden power believed to control future events.’ Whereas coincidence is:- ‘… a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.’ Motivation to believe in one or the other of these concepts is a personal one, and I guess based on experience. Others may believe they work hand in hand or are one and the same. In a classic love story, for example, circumstances may occur where one protagonist is unerringly driven to be in the same place as another. A road diversion, a broken lift, sheltering in heavy rain - but always the two souls keep bumping into each other. Is that destiny playing its part or just a random sequence of events? To my mind one has an element of romance, the other not so. One holds spiritual comfort, the other not so. Destiny presents itself in many a tale if you look for it, if your belief structure includes it. For example, Lord of the Rings, the classic fantasy hero’s epic, has many points related to destiny, not least that Bilbo was always meant to find the ring and so Frodo was also meant to have it. The same can be said of romance or chick lit. The guy was always meant to turn up at the front door asking for help, or head into the library to ask for directions and bump into an old school friend. Again, is this destiny or coincidence? One of my favourite films is ‘Signs’ by M Night Shyamalam. It’s a few years old now, 2002, starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix and is classed as science fiction horror. I’d put it under psychological mystery if it were on paper, which is where my own writing resides. Without giving too much away, the film centres on destiny and how the main characters, all within one family, possess gifts or exhibit behaviours that seem innocuous or mundane taken on their own. However, these all come to meaning when the ultimate crisis presents itself. They were always meant to be, just for that one moment in time when needed the most. When I first saw the film, the power of its meaning grabbed me by the throat… but why should I be so moved? Another of M Night’s films, ‘Lady in the Water’, a tale based on mystical creatures but set in the twenty-first century, also relies on individuals who possess gifts which when combined result in the saving of the heroin and indeed the whole of mankind. It’s a lovely, imaginative tale that contains humour and tragedy, loss and hope. Something personal that took place a couple of years ago struck me as interesting. I’m a fan of alternate healing therapies such as reflexology or reiki, and I regularly go to see a reiki therapist. She talked to me once about soul gifts, those unique qualities and traits that an individual possesses. (Yes I’m going all hippy here man!) During our session she had the vision of a quill and nib centred on my chest and felt that it depicted my soul gift. It was only afterwards I told her about my writing and though I may never make much of it, I feel that it has become an essential part of me over the short years since I began. Do we all possess soul gifts? Are we fated to work with them? So why am I so moved towards a spiritual but none religious belief in destiny? Because of my wife… my soul mate. I’ll explain, and though the events that took place 30 years ago may be seen to be random or coincidental, I prefer to believe that fate took control because isn’t that more romantic? The story isn’t dramatic at all, but I met my future wife on a blind date. The night of that first date we had a drink in a local country pub and it felt to me as comfortable as meeting with an old friend… conversation was easy and relaxed. Not being much of a drinker, I asked if she would like a coffee back at my place and she agreed. Because of my caution and foolishness and without going in to detail, we didn’t see each other again for another month, and I thought that was that. (I really liked this woman.) But then one Saturday afternoon she turned up on my doorstep ready to leave a note if I wasn’t in. The rest is history. Now, imagine if I had been a drinker and stayed at the pub all evening. Imagine if I hadn’t invited her back to my house for a beverage. She would never have known where I lived… never have known where to find me. Our futures would have been utterly different. We would never have spent a year living in Scotland, a location dear to our hearts which features also in the hearts of my characters. I may never have become interested in spiritual healing. I would not have had a dream one night that led to the first tentative steps into writing fiction. I would not be here discussing destiny on a blog. Ask yourselves, has the lives of my wife and I been based on pure random events or did destiny play its part? I’ll leave that to your own belief structure, but if you want to read more about fate and destiny, mingled with the strength of family, maybe you’ll give Song of the Robin, Reunion and Broken a try.