Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Domino Effect

Our lives are a series of choices and events that topple into one another like a stream of dominoes.   Each time we are faced with a new choice, we set into motion an entirely different stream that branches of in a thousand different directions.  Each decision comes with its own chain, each chain has infinite possibilities.   Had we chosen differently, we would follow a different path.   All of us can trace where we are today through this chain reaction of our past.   This decision lead to that one, which lead to this one over here, etc.   For instance, let's start with the fact I am married to my husband.   We never would have met if I had not made the decision to to go a birthday party.  I would not have been invited to that birthday party had I never taken a summer job at Kennedy Space Center as a camp counselor.   That job would never had even occurred to me had my friend not mentioned to me that she knew who was in charge of hiring and they needed teachers to work it.   I would not have even known that friend if I had not been working at that particular elementary school in my county.  The decision to move to my county after college was made with a good friend I met my freshman year.  I went to my college because it was small, not too far from home, and had a respectable elementary education program.  I knew I wanted to be a teacher because I had helped my mother so many times in her preschool.  I could keep back tracking, but I think you get my point.   We are where we ARE because of where we WERE.  All of us.  Every moment you are living right now is a direct result of the moments you have already lived - and your future moments are being decided as you read this.  Where will you go today?  Who will you meet?   How will the events of today shape the events of tomorrow?

While this chain reaction of events is not entirely out of our control, there are some things that are.  There are things in our lives that just happen - without reason, without warning.   They stop our row of dominoes in their tracks.   The click, click, click of the falling blocks come to a sudden and silent halt.  We look around, wide eyed and bewildered, and try to figure out where to go from here.  Because now...this is when things get tricky.   Now, we have to make a much more conscious choice.  Now is when life lays out several different tracks of dominoes - and we have to choose which one to topple over.   A crossroad.   Which path do I take?  How will that path change who I am?  How will who I am change this path?

Kenley's death froze my domino chain.  Right now, I sit in the middle of a wide, white room.  Behind me, millions of toppled dominoes from thousands of different decisions lay fallen on the floor.   In front of me, hundreds of new rows stand tall and unbroken.   I have to choose.  Purposefully.  Consciously.  And I am afraid.
I know how I want my life to go.   Her death has not changed my desire to be a mother, to have more children, to move forward in life.  But, here's the thing - because she is gone, the chain of events that would have led to those specific children and that specific life no longer exists, and an entirely new chain is waiting to be started.   Had she lived, we probably would have waited a few years before trying again for a sibling.  Now that she is not here, that effort is being moved up significantly.  Mike and I have discussed trying sooner rather than later.  Whatever child is conceived will be done so because Kenley is not here. (Strictly speaking in terms of timing - not replacement.  That cannot be clarified enough.  She will never be replaced)   How will I celebrate that new life while still respecting the memory of the one I lost?  How can I be entirely happy knowing it is the direct result of a broken chain? Had  that chain never broken, that child would not exist.  Will being happy for that new life also mean I am happy for her death?  It's a terrible paradox.   When I got pregnant so quickly, I knew there was a specific reason and purpose for that child in my belly.  How can I accept that her purpose was to bring me HERE?   

But, here I am.   Waiting to figure out which path I want to take.  Which path will lead me forward to where I am supposed to be?   Which domino do I flick?
Where are your dominoes taking you?


  1. Consider the domino theory you have set forth. If I had not decided to take Sociology sophomore year (heard it was an easy B) and had mom decided not to take the very same class and had we not had 30 minutes between classes, we wouldn't have spent that time talking and getting to know each other. If that friendship hadn't developed and evolved into true love, you wouldn't be here today. But all that did happen and I am so grateful it did

  2. Your heart will tell you. Your angel, Kenley, will guide you. I only say this because of the personal journeys my friends have experienced and what they have shared with me. When the desire to go forth is so strong, you will recognize it, and you will. God bless, Rebecca and Mike.