As a treat to myself this pre-Christmas week, I bought some dark chocolate to keep in my car and share with nobody but myself. Today on my way home from work, seeking a little indulgence, I unwrapped a Dove chocolate, popped it in my mouth, and looked for which of the magical Dove “promises” was printed on the inside of the wrapper. Instead of something sweet and pithy, like chocolate being the best way to a person’s heart, or smiles being contagious, what I read was a little more pointed.

“You are exactly where you are supposed to be.”

What?

That’s kind of a big observation for piece of chocolate. I immediately had questions.  I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, in what way? Alone, in my car, scarfing down empty calories? In my job? In my community? In my church? No further answers came from my little aluminum fortuneteller.

This quickly got under my skin, as I’ve been feeling antsy lately to make some changes. Was this a sign? Am I supposed to stay right where I am? Was God trying to tell me something via chocolate? Certainly the Dove company isn’t entitled to pass on such a weighty observation on their own. How would they know if I’m where I’m supposed to be?

Then I stopped to consider if these words of wisdom could possibly be true, for me or for anyone who might have unwrapped this particular candy. AM I where I’m supposed to be? Are YOU exactly where you’re supposed to be? And furthermore, if something changes tomorrow, would I still be where I’m supposed to be, even if it’s in a different place? Maybe the point is that we  treat each day as if we have a special calling to be there, right where we are, making a difference and having significance in whatever our roles are in that place and time.

On the flip side, what happens if I don’t think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be? What if I long to be somewhere else or in some different situation? Do I lose the capacity to be totally present right where I am, and do I miss opportunities to bless and be blessed?

This week I’ve been thinking about the Christmas story, and sweet, trusting Mary — pregnant and far away from home, giving birth to a baby, apparently among animals. I wonder if she had moments of doubting whether she was where she was supposed to be. And yet, after a visit from the shepherds, the account says “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Her situation couldn’t have felt comfortably picture-perfect by any stretch, but she was present in the moment, absorbing the wonder of the reality around her.

I’m guessing that can only happen when you believe you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, whether it’s in a stable In Bethlehem, or in Iowa in the winter, or wherever life finds you today… or tomorrow.

by Angie Schmitt

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