The Sacred Otherwise


Every single thing that happens is born of particularity.

The largest things and the smallest things, alike —
who we know and love,
what routines we’ve developed,
how we’re partnered,
what our daily work looks like,
even what we’ve had for breakfast —
these may not have happened at all, except very particular factors lined up.

He showed up at a meeting.

A conversation brought synergy.

She asked me for a favor.

We missed the plane.

A job ad suddenly came into view.

I got fed up.

Someone told them they were really good at this.

A new question emerged in her mind.

Every bit of this is particularity. Most of life has an “it wouldn’t have happened this way, except” attached. I love to think about this.

And here’s a Real Mystery:

At times, we might sit back and marvel that some the best gifts of our lives,
the very bestĀ people and opportunities for whom we feel an immense amount of gratitude, might not have come into being in the way they have, and may not even exist!
except for the fact that we experienced a major life detour —
at times, one we would have never chosen, and one we may not have wanted at all.

We might look at these people, opportunities, and life rhythms as expressions of
The Sacred Otherwise.

The Sacred Otherwise. . .

Without the detour —
the interruption,
the disruption,
the loss,
the departure,
the frustration —
we wouldn’t have had these other experiences.

Plan B, C, D, ad infinitum are very holy, because they are expressions of life that might not have existed at all. This is true with most things, in fact.

They are the Sacred Otherwise.

This doesn’t mean that the detours, interruptions, disruptions, losses, departures, and frustrations were gifts in and of themselves. In fact, they might still ache somewhere within us.

But even then, even there,
The Sacred Otherwise is born of particularity.

And so we marvel.

Renee Roederer


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