The difference a decade makes

The Moody Blues’ “Nights In White Satin” has a line that says “Just what you want to be, you will be in the end.” I find that both empowering and frightening, taken in the context of eternity, of free will.

(I’ve been thinking about free will a lot lately. Someday, I’ll tell you why.)

Free will means God honors our choices, and it means God lets us shape our own personalities. And when you think about it, that’s a huge responsibility. You get to shape a soul. An eternal creation. You.

Pretty awesome, huh? If I were God and I had a soul I valued (which we’re told He does) I wouldn’t want to entrust it to me, of all people. It must be hard not to just snatch it back out of my hands and say, “Give me that! You’re messing it all up.”

Ahem. Okay, so that’s making God in my image, but whatever.

After 9/11, when I thought about everything going on in my world back then, I wondered how the me from 2001 would look at the me from 2011. Would it surprise me how my life looks right now?

I can say for certain that ten years ago, if you’d told me I would like to knit, I’d have choked on my coffee and sputtered, “What?” At that point I hadn’t touched yarn since several failed attempts to crochet when I was 10, and no one I knew could knit.

If you’d told me I would like classical music, I’d have said, “I got old in a hurry, did I?”  No, it would never have occurred to me to listen to Mozart on my own.

I would have been shocked that we moved to Angelborough. It might not have surprised me to learn we’d left our previous city, but not for here.

If you’d told me I would be biking three days a week and considering going to a gym so I could keep doing it over the winter, I’d have been stunned. (Actually, I’m still stunned.)

The writing, the Kiddos, the rest of that wouldn’t have surprised me. (Well, some of it would have, but not stuff I can blog about. Sorry.) I might have been disappointed that I never became vegetarian (as if it’s something that just happens to you). And none of that is someone I wouldn’t have wanted to become — more like in retrospect, these developments wouldn’t have occurred to me.

What about you? What developments in your current life would have surprised the you of ten years ago?


  1. Sara Ann Denson

    I love how poignant you are about free-will. Do you ever do any speaking outside of Angelborough at theology conferences? I’d recommend you my connections. E-mail me if so.

    1. philangelus

      Thanks. I don’t have any formal theological training, so no, I never speak in public about it. If you need someone to teach about writing at a theology conference, though… 😉

      1. Sara Ann Denson

        Ha! Well possibly a Catholic teacher’s in-service, but my connections to that one aren’t quite as shoe-in.

  2. tgz

    What developments would surprise 10-years-ago me?

    1) That I am a Catholic. I expected to become, sooner or later, a churchgoing Christian, but never a Catholic.

    2) That I am not a scientist working abroad.

    3) That this year I’ve been unemployed 7.5 out of 12 months.

    4) That I would some day need mental help and seek it.

    5) That I am still single at almost 35.

    6) That, despite all this, I am happy and haven’t given up.

    Yes, these 10 years have been good but humbling…