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How many of you find yourself today exactly where you planned to be in life? Anyone? No one?

I asked this question when I spoke to the Bismarck Rotary Club last week, and not one hand was raised.

If you answered yes, that everything in your life has fallen into place just as you expected, you may opt out at this point in the column and it won’t hurt my feelings. But if your life has taken some unexpected twists and turns this column is meant for you.

In the introduction at Rotary it was noted that in college I majored in education and religion. I find great wisdom in simple Bible stories and one of my favorites is found in Mark 6:45-56. And no, it is not the one about Jesus walking on the water, though that is pretty cool.

Several years ago I noticed that in verse 45 it says, “Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida.” Then in verse 53 it says, “When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there.

Did you catch that? They set out for Bethsaida but somehow landed in Gennesaret. They ended up in a place they had not planned to be.

My wife tells me that things may have been different if they had had a woman in the group, or if they had not been too prideful to stop and ask for directions … but that is a discussion for another day.

I don’t know if it is fair to say they landed in the “wrong” place or if Jesus simply had a change of mind. I tend to believe the latter.

But here are a few things we do know. It says they got out of the boat and “ran” through the countryside doing good stuff.

I am not sure what they had planned to do in Bethsaida, but what they did in Gennesaret was meaningful and life changing for those they impacted, and apparently fulfilling and energizing for them.

Life takes crazy twists and turns for all of us. For some it may be a failed relationship, an unplanned pregnancy, a business failure, a career setback, illness or injury … you name it. We end up in a place (figurative or literal) where we had not planned to be.

If we get hung up on what opportunities may have been missed or what might have been, we miss the opportunities right in front of us; opportunities for growth, fulfillment, opportunities to make a difference, and have meaningful interaction that strengthens both the giver and receiver.

Life is short and opportunities are all around us. Don’t let what might have been blind you from what might be.

Gary Adkisson is publisher of the Bismarck Tribune.

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