I didn't used to feel such a presence in my life--almost scripting my life--but I'm beginning to feel it now. Before, it was a call or encounter that completely changed my life.
I noticed it in high school, when a classmate questioned my aptitude for science, and challenged me to enter a competition--the reward being summer school--studying physics, with a famous scientist from the University of Chicago. I entered the competition just to show up my classmate, gave it no further thought, only to find some months later I was one of 40 in the Midwest selected--all expenses paid by the National Science Foundation.
That changed everything. I never had met such amazing students before--individually or collectively. I instinctively knew that I would be able to go anywhere I wanted to study anything I wanted: it was a very liberating feeling--and that was just the beginning. Undergraduate and graduate school happened in much the same way: one fluke after another. While I was still in high school I read Hesse's Magister Ludiand came upon the character Joseph Knecht, who rose from backwoods obscurity to become the spiritual leader of an intellectual elite. I always kept that in my mind. It was a precursor of things to come.
These days, it's almost day by day. I'm no longer surprised--and I've given up questioning. Two new couples with young children just moved in to houses nearby, giving me an extended family life I haven't had for a long time.