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10:16 a.m. - April 19, 2006
Fate Is A Four Letter Word
Yesterday, I spent a fun filled day with Vicki traversing around all of Baltimore and vicinity, going to lunch and dinner, buying a polo shirt at Target (and thus avoiding having to buy something at the ridiculously expensive shopping mall adjacent to the hotel. Also, the Gapís polo shirts donít work on me. The colors are all wrong for my undertones (See Liz, I learned something!))

I put songs on Vickiís iPod and we IMd some dear friends and laughed and laughed, and then I called Liz.

She said that a good friend of ours from Massachusetts came by the house to catch up. Of course, Liz wasnít expecting visitors and the house looked like it was invaded by small children, which of course, it was.

This friend was stricken with breast cancer last year, and when they found it she was in stage three. She had a massive treatment and drug regimen, and it seems to have helped quite a bit. She still has some weekly treatments but all seems to be doing fine right now and the prognosis is good for her.

Sheís had a rough time of it. When her second child was born, there were a lot of complications and she was down for quite a while.

Then her husband received a prestigious fellowship to study in Frankfurt for a year, so they moved lock, stock and barrel from Indianapolis to Germany, with no knowledge of where they would wind up after he was done with that fellowship.

Fortunately, he found a job with the state of Massachusetts so she could live very close by to her family, and all was well when the cancer was found.

Sheís got a great husband, two great kids and a good network of friends and family, but still, fate has twice looked upon her and not been kind.

I was thinking about fate this past Saturday. Friday night, we had a huge storm blow through town. We didnít think it was a tornado, but the winds were very strong and a lot of trees were knocked down, and the power was out for a while on our side of the city.

A block away from me, a colleague and classmate of mine at Wabash lost a tree. I was walking around and I heard a chainsaw at 10:00 at night. Thatís never a good sign. A big tree had lost a big branch, and came crashing down and clobbered his fence and his hedge.

He was trying to clear it away in order to save his hedge, and I helped him get the tree out of the street and out of the way so in the morning he could concentrate on clearing out the big stuff.

He was bemoaning his fate, when his wife reminded him, ďGreg, it could have fallen the other way and gone through our master bedroom.Ē

I suppose it was fate that the tree fell, but it was also fate on how the tree fell.

Wabash College had some massive storm damage as well. A roof was blown off of a building, the oldest oak tree in the county was toppled and a lot of the trees near the entrance were damaged. Before I left work on Monday, the hum of the wood chippers was constant at work.

Looking at some damage everywhere I was wondered on why some trees made it and some trees didnít make it. Why our three big trees seemed to weather the storm with only a few limbs falling (one tree always sheds limbs, even if itís sunny Ė we need to have it looked at) while others around town just tumbled like they were twigs.

Itís fate, isnít it? Pure chance. Ours is not to wonder why.

Fate is unfair; itís cruel, cold, and unfeeling. Sometimes fate looks kindly upon you, and sometimes it doesnít.

It was fate that a young alumnus of the College, who had a nice job working for a network, was vacationing in St. Maartens when he was attacked and beaten by a bunch of imbeciles because he was a homosexual. Heís going to survive, but thereís going to be a lot of rehab work.

That could have happened to anyone who was in that situation Ė the wrong place at the wrong time.

I think it was fate that my friend was afflicted with cancer, but also fate that she fought through a stage three breast cancer and now has a good prognosis.

A lot of people say you make your own luck in life. I think thatís true to some extent. By some of your actions and deeds you set yourself up for some good things in life and some bad things in life.

But you canít always make your own luck. You canít control others, and you canít control certain things in nature.

Some things just happen Ė thatís fate.

Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people.

So last night, after I hung up the phone with Liz, I was thankful of my friendships in life. I was happy that I have met a lot of people by writing these essays, and today when I go to my conference Iím going to celebrate the relationships I have just a little bit more than I have in the past.
I am blessed with Liz, Katie and Kristin.

I think Iím way past taking things for granted. I need to be thankful about how my life has worked out, and make sure I make the most out of every day.

So if I may seem a bit sentimental today, and you see me, donít worry. Iím just enjoying another day in my life, because I donít know what fate has in store for me.


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