In my native tongue, the phrase “bahala na” is very much overused in instances that we have very little control over. In other words, it happens most in times where we have no sodding idea on what to do. It is derived from the phrase “Bathala na” which quite literally means “Leave it to the hands of the gods.” One who is new to the concept would think that it's an endearingly spiritual way of thinking but someone like me who has grown accustomed to it thinks of it as a glorified way of saying “Whatever!” It never kept me from using it though *grin* Over and over at that.
I probably join the millions who believe that there are no accidents, just incidents. And that, yes, everything happens for a reason. It's not so much that believing such things easily gives meaning to situations that we cannot make sense of, but it's more of — I really do believe that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps it partly stems from my background as a Catholic. You know, believing in a God who has our lives mapped out given the twists, turns, options and choices that we make. Then again, when we think about it, is it really possible to have that many coincidences in our lives? When everything seems to just fall into place without ample reason or logic?
Accepting the idea of fate or destiny is, at the same token, also accepting the idea that there is someone or something out there that is guiding our life. Though it isn't utter surrender to a superior power, it is acknowledging the presence of something else having a hand in what happens in our lives. Happenstance, destiny, fate, serendipity, kismet — all these beautiful and meaningful words all mean one thing. We often allude incidents to these and resigning to the fact that it's just meant to be. It makes it difficult for one to deny that sometimes, it really is just meant to be.
Though I promote and approve of this paradigm, I do not indulge in the idea of completely resigning one's self to the hands of predestination. Just like anything taken in excess, it can be abused and be rather unhealthy. I know of some people who have a little too much faith on the stars that they presume that everything will just fall on their laps. They reason that if something is truly meant to be, then it shall happen. They miss one detail in the scenario — that they need to help themselves to achieve it. If only life were that easy to maneuver, then wouldn't we be all happy… in a dull unfulfilled way? We arrange our lives in a way that makes it easier for destiny to shoot for the target. We engineer it, we arrange it, we reinforce it. Tempting fate, if you will. If it doesn't happen the way we want it to, then maybe, destiny has got something bigger and better in store for us around the corner. Admittedly though, the distance to the corner can be a very long one sometimes.
I learned that the gods smile kindly on those people who pull their weight. Eighty percent along the way, we are awarded the rest of the twenty percent. Or maybe more if we're lucky. Very rare are we given the whole hundred percent for simply swinging our legs under the table whilst tapping our fingers impatiently (even patiently at that). Those who have experienced that must have done something right in their past life.
Even God has bestowed us with the free will and intelligence to make our own decisions. We cannot expect him to answer all our prayers — may they be devoted or whimsical — without working for it. God supposedly has our lives mapped out on the palm of His hands and it's entirely up to us to find our ways to our end. However, the question on whether we choose the right path or not can only be answered at the end of time.
Believing in destiny is a beautiful thing, I at least like to believe. It gives life a mysterious flavor and it gives me something to look forward to. It's like putting the pieces of a puzzle together and only seeing the picture after it has been worked on for a while. It is when secrets are unfolded before us, and when everything finally starts making sense. Going with the flow and rolling with the waves are not exactly bad things to do as long as it is done with care. After all, how else are we expected to explore life's essence if we don't get lost in it?
From here to eternity… bahala na!