Twilight and the burden of free will

    I watched the movie Eclipse recently. I'm not a Twilight fan, but - well, we all have people in our lives, don't we?

    One moment in particular stood out to me. In the middle of the one of the most intense scenes, Jacob angrily says that if Edward had stayed away for six more months, Bella would have forgotten about him, falling completely in love with Jacob.

    Twilight fans would no doubt argue the accuracy of that prediction, but I think it makes sense. I've seen many people (like Bella) in the middle of obsessive and unhealthy relationships, and without space to breath, they are never able to get enough separation to get a glimpse of the reality around them. They stay stuck in a world and a relationship collapsing in on itself, cutting off more and more people and possibilities as time goes on.

    But given enough separation, the fog of that relationship is able to clear, and they begin to see things more clearly. Unfortunately, that's rarely given the chance to happen.

    In the movie, Bella's friends and family feel her pulling away from them, sinking into the darkness of obsession - and they try to get her to get some space. But Bella can't and won't. She knows what she wants, and she won't stop to consider any other possibilities. And so everyone - to varying degrees - loses her.

    But what about those six months?

    If things had turned out different, if she had been given another six months of separation from Edward, she might have begun to see things differently. Jacob, the character embodying light and life, would have probably finally drawn her attention, and her life would have veered in a very different direction.

    Down one path, she ended up giving up most of her relationships, and even her very life, to pursue this ever-deepening obsession with Edward. Down the other path, she could have resurfaced in a vibrant relationship with Jacob that would draw her friends and family more fully into her life.

    And the only difference was six months.

    When I saw this played out in the movie, it struck me how much our decisions really matter. The things we say and do today have consequences and effects that spiral outward from us, toppling things we cherish, building up things we never expected. Marriage, divorce, life and death, obsession and distance, each are ultimately determined on tiny decisions and small moments.

    It is frightening, but right now, you have the power to radically change the next 80 years of someone's life. And you don't even know how to control this power.

    Don't be scared. But think. And think hard.