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Do you belive in providence?

 
 
Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 07:56 pm
I'm not an especially religious person.

I'm not an especially lucky person either.

But lately I've been thinking a lot about the idea of providence.

Some things just seem beyond chance. Beyond luck. Beyond what I deserve to find in my knock-around approach to life. I hesitate to ascribe it to some supernatural force but I can't figure it out.

And no, this isn't about Mo. Or Mr. B. Or my psychic friend who dreams my future and who's husband is an electrician. Or anybody else I've talked about on A2K before (I don't think). Or, for that matter, anyone on A2K.

So.

Do you belive in providence?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,453 • Replies: 24
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littlek
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 07:57 pm
I believe in Providence. I've been there.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 07:58 pm
No, no, no. This is little "p", littlek!
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 07:59 pm
Provenance, sure.


No, I don't believe in providence.
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littlek
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 08:01 pm
To tell the truth, I've never really known what this providence is all about.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 08:05 pm
Quote:
1. (often initial capital letter) the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth.
2. (initial capital letter) God, esp. when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.
3. a manifestation of divine care or direction.


Number 3, I think, is what I'm talking about.

Have you ever felt like someone was sent to you? I guess that's what I'm asking.
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littlek
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 08:06 pm
Ah. No.
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fishin
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 08:14 pm
littlek wrote:
I believe in Providence. I've been there.


*nods* They have a very nice airport! Razz
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boomerang
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 08:23 pm
Okay, then.

So maybe I'm Forest Gump?

How in the world do I just stumble upon so many improbable teachers?

I don't go looking for them. Given my way, I would hardly talk to anyone yet I keep coming across people who seem to be able to give me answers.

I don't know.....

..... <shaking head>......

........... I just don't know.....
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littlek
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 08:26 pm
Because you're an opportunist? You see the teachers and accept the learning where others may not.....?
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Chai
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 08:42 pm
yes, I believe in providence. It has manifested itself several times in my life.
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fishin
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 08:44 pm
boomerang wrote:
How in the world do I just stumble upon so many improbable teachers?

I don't go looking for them. Given my way, I would hardly talk to anyone yet I keep coming across people who seem to be able to give me answers.


You have what Dr. Robert Putnam would refer to as "social capital".

You don't go looking for them but at the same time you aren't offensive, you are polite, you engage people in conversation. As a result, I'm very sorry to say, people LIKE you. Razz

So when you ask a question people don't mind going out of their way to answer. Why shouldn't they? For a minor expenditure of effort they get to chat with someone who is polite and curtious! Holy crap! What a gig you've got going! :wink:
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aidan
 
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Reply Wed 23 May, 2007 08:46 pm
Quote:
a manifestation of divine care or direction


I believe in providence. How else to explain the fact that I was born to nurturing parents as a middle-class white female in the wealthiest country in the world, as opposed being born to poverty stricken, child abusing, female denigrators in a third world country?

But I also believe that if you ascribe to providence- you have to have some belief that explains the manifestation of the opposite of providence in the world. And I don't know that I really do, or what I call that- except bad luck.

The other day I was playing backgammon and I desperately needed to roll a three- and I rolled a double three. I was feeling really, really lucky until I realized that the double meant that I had to leave one of my guys open and it got picked off at a crucial point in the game. I ended up losing.

So when it's life-altering good luck, I call it providence. When it's petty bad luck- I call it bad luck. I don't know what to call life-altering negative circumstances. I would say "life"- as in accepting that those are part of the condition of being alive- except there are so many circumstances of that where I think that's defeatist thinking and giving up- especially when there are whole populations of people being held down by situations that could and should be changed (such as the negative circumstances that affect especially female children who are born in some third world countries). It seems kind of callous to say to those people, "That's life."
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boomerang
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 10:51 am
Interesting, that, aidan, about there not being an opposite of providence. That thought had not crossed my mind.

I guess I consider circumstances of birth more luck than anything else.

And I have never thought of myself as having social capital. Hmmm....

I suppose it could be that I'm open to being taught.

From working so many years as a portrait photographer I do "read" people pretty good. I'm good at getting to know essential things about them by asking the right questions.

This situation is a bit different though.....

Let me explain a bit:

I don't talk to many people. I really keep to myself pretty much all the time but there is a woman I've met that has been able to provide me with an amazing amount of information. We met by accident -- we were just kind of thrown together. We see each other about an hour a week in an environment where we are constantly interrupted.

She has a son who, in temperament, is very similar to Mo. He's a few years older. She has learned how to navigate the system in ways I couldn't have imagined. In sharing her experience with me she has taught me how to advocate for Mo.

In addition, she herself was adopted. So were both of her parents. She has seen the adoption angle from every perspective: closed, open, good, bad, non-searchers, searchers, who, what, when, where, why.

It just seems beyond chance that someone who could answer so many questions that I have could come wrapped up in one bright package that was essentially tossed in my path to discover.

Really, what are the odds?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 10:55 am
Quote:
Do you believe in Providence?


Well . . . yes, i suppose so . . . although i've never actually been to Rhode Island.
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fishin
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 11:28 am
boomerang wrote:
It just seems beyond chance that someone who could answer so many questions that I have could come wrapped up in one bright package that was essentially tossed in my path to discover.



Was she "tossed in your path"? I'm not much for the whole metaphysical thing so I tend to see things like that as that you were both on the same path - you trying to work out your troubles and she trying to work out her's. The eventual meeting becomes a forgone conclusion. It's more a matter of when...
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 11:51 am
I'm not convinced that there is a Destiny shaping my rough-hewed ends for its own purposes.

As a pragmatic agnostic I associate "providence" with "being provident". (If I were a Good Woman and True Scholar, I'd check out those word roots, but I don't have time right now).

"Provident" to me means not only being thrifty with material things, but always having an eye open for useful and delightful applications of circumstances.

I think you do this, Boomer.

By the by, the opposite of "provident" is "imprudent"--one who wastes both substance and opportunities.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 11:54 am
That is false. The opposite of provident is improvident, meaning failing to provide for the future, thriftless, incautious, rash.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 12:46 pm
Setanta--

You're correct.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2007 12:51 pm
Re: Do you belive in providence?
boomerang wrote:
Do you belive in providence?

No -- just in dumb luck.
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