Papercut of the Mayan calendar projected on sidewalk

Hannah Cowart
September 20, 2015

When I think of Prophecy, I think that things are already decided–all that I know and will come to know has been laid out. My story has already been written, my life planned. I just have to walk through the door. Nothing I can say or do will change things. Or if it does, then that was part of the plan.

If I buy into this, then the Prophet, is one who delivers that truth. That has insight into a layer of this world that the rest of us cannot access.

There is a lot of danger in these concepts for me because they seem so absolute. And when I think “absolute” I’m immediately drawn precariously close to that evil that I battle every day that tells me there is a “right way” in life, that leaves me looking for that “right decision”, that leaves me searching endlessly and painfully for perfection.

Since I have recently employed myself to do whatever possible to track down and kill all perceptions of perfection in my life and any inkling of perfection I see in the world around me, the “absoluteness” of prophecy is a big turn off for me.

So, I examine the other side: If I don’t believe that my story is already written, then the logical alternative is that it is not written. Things are not planned. I have the ability to change things, to alter the course of events. Take it even further: I have the ability and perhaps even the responsibility to personally control outcomes.

This is where it gets really scary for me. In my life, I have tried relentlessly to “help” people’s behaviors, abilities, and lives but ultimately these are all attempts at control. As a self proclaimed patient person, I have tried to “wait it out” while things fall into place the way I want them. Just another way to control. If there was a way through effort and diligence to control outcomes, to control my story, I assure you I would have been successful by now. My life and the lives of those around me would be exactly how I want them. This has been a painful lesson for me to learn.

I have tried to force myself into the driver’s seat on so many levels only to finally realize that there are billions of others that are trying to as well–and none of us are winning, and the more attached I became to the notion that I could control, the more detached I became from my truth, from other people and from the world. I have to re-learn this lesson nearly every day.

So, if I do not believe in prophecy–that someone/thing has written my life. And I don’t believe I am in control of writing the stories of humanity, then what do I believe?

I believe that my human brain does not have the capacity to fully understand this world. And that’s o.k. I may not be able to live in constant presence, but I can’t let that discourage me from constantly striving to be present. I believe that I, we, each of us–though we may not be able to fulfill the all encompassing role of “prophet,” we do have a prophetic role in each other’s lives . . . it is our challenge to tune into ourselves, to connect with one another as deeply as we dare and to never settle for the fool’s gold of perfection. We have the ability to guide and bear witness to each other and lead each other into layers of life that we could never have accessed working alone.

With courage, we can each have moments of prophecy when we speak our truth so clearly that other people can see a piece of their own. And in this way, if we are brave enough to meet each other, I believe we will see that we exist in a world full of prophets just waiting for our turn.

(Image credit: 9 portes initiatiques vers le 21.12.2012 by Thierry Ehrman)