“You can’t blame disconnection on bad timing— it’s a choice.”

I’ve been asked, many times, since I’m a “hopeless romantic,” if I believe in fate. Since I’m a poet I must put stock into the wise tale of falling in love at first sight, right? That God has designed the perfect person for me and I must leave it up to the heavens for them to miraculously put us together. However, I think that’s all bullshit. Sure, I’m a sucker for any “well, I don’t usually go to this coffee shop, but I did that Tuesday and that’s when I met him, so I knew it was fate” love story, wedding toast. But you chose to go to that coffee shop. You decided. He decided. No one surreptitiously interfered, moved your body with magical gravity, pushed you through that glass door and into his arms. You chose to talk to him. He chose to stay an extra ten minutes to finish his paper.

I do believe, faithfully, that God has someone in mind for you. They aren’t perfect. They’re sometimes a little stubborn, leave dishes in the sink, will tell you this, albeit hilarious, stupid story about him punching this guy out at a bar for making an ignorant comment. But you’ll love his jawline, the way he smiles when he holds a baby, the dance he does from behind you when you’re washing those dishes he leaves in the sink. You’ll drink him in like an apple ale, almost a little too sweet, but you’ll take your time finishing the bottle. And even though I do believe, despite the bad track record and what could be blamed as “bad luck” in my previous relationships, that God does have someone out there for me, and I know he is coming as fast as he possibly can.

Yet, I believe that God sometimes puts people into our lives at the right times and also the wrong times. He wants to test us; make us chose. You can’t blame disconnection on bad timing— it’s a choice. You have to decide that you want that person despite the distance, the new job, the big move, the sick aunt, the past people who smashed your heart up and decided to leave it in pieces. You have to be brave enough to choose what seems impossible because it’ll be worth it. Don’t blame fraying ends on it “not being meant to be.” Don’t blame anyone. You’ve made your choice. They’ve made theirs.

I decided to get a chicken salad instead of the broccoli cheddar soup. I skipped track five on an album of 13. I picked Lycoming College over five other brilliant schools. I ordered one more drink instead of going home. I went home. I kissed you. I wore a dress instead of jeans.

I’ve made a lot of choices from the minuscule to the, sometimes seemingly, hugely important. Sure, maybe deciding to go to Cafe 1812 instead of the Caf for lunch won’t make much of a difference ten years from now, and maybe me crying about that boy from the bar will seem stupid when I’m 55 and holding my husbands hand, but they are choices. They are decisions I’ve made. I almost quit dance classes when I was nine, but I chose to stay in it, and now I could not imagine the person I would have turned out to be without it. I keep deciding to be a writer no matter how many people throw their skepticism in my direction.

I’m don’t believe in destiny or fate. I believe in working hard, in trusting yourself and trusting God when things don’t go as envisioned. I believe in the good things coming because I know I have the capability to make them happen. It’s all about choices. I know I’ve made mine.

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