I have always believed in fate. I wrote an essay in high school-- probably after reading some Shakespearean play-- that debated fate vs free will. My thesis was that it's not a debate at all, but an exercise in irony: we believe we have free will, and are making choices all along the way to control our own destiny, but in fact all those choices are predetermined, being guided by the hands of fate. I'm sad to say my teacher did not get it, at all-- but I'm sure my writing skills did not do justice to the task at hand, either. To be honest, I'm not sure I can communicate it right now, either, but that has never stopped me from trying.
But this is the way I've always felt about things. I was born in the greater Bangor area, but my dad got a promotion and we moved when I was 8. Time passes... and when I get to college, I meet up with a girl who was close with someone I was close with back in first grade. Whatever the reason, I was supposed to know her, and while I thought it was my choice to go to UMF, perhaps the universe had spent 10 years trying to find a way for our paths to cross again. After graduation, I had two job offers-- coastal and mountains. I chose mountains and proceeded down my less traveled path. One of my colleagues decided to pursue his administration certificate, and ended up interning in the very building on the coast that had offered me a job. And in all honesty, knowing that I would have met him either way is still a great comfort, as he died from cancer 12 years ago. Even me marrying WB-- we'd met in anatomy lab when I was a freshman and he a junior, but he was dating someone else. The universe reconnected us at Peru School a few years later, and that time it took.
This week, my bestfriend's mom was hospitalized for pneumonia. The norovirus going around is a particularly pesky one, so this news wasn't terribly shocking to me. The story came back that Pepere took her pulse, didn't like how low it was, and called 911. Bestfriend and I talked about this-- of course her pulse would go down as she was resting, that's the point, but he did the right thing for sure, so who cares what his reasoning was. He and I (fatefully?) were both on the team scheduled to visit a high school down the road from his parent's house, so we made arrangements to ride together and visit them after. As we were waiting for them to get home from being discharged (a way lengthier procedure than was necessary, but that's a different rant for another day) his brother stopped in and mentioned the "clippy thing Dad used to check her oxygen". My ears perked up: my asthmatic daughter learned at age 4 what the pulse/oxygen meter showed, and when the numbers were lower than 95 she was struggling for air. It turns out that last Tuesday-- 5 days before he used it-- Pepere picked one up just to have on hand. When he used it to read her pulse/ox levels-- not just her pulse-- he knew that she was in severe oxygen depletion, and rightly called 911.
How did he know 5 days before Memere even got sick that he'd need that simple little tool? What caused him to miss Mass (something Pepere never does) and check her oxygen levels? We'll never really know what caused him to make those little decisions, but there is no doubt in my mind that it's because it wasn't her time. Had Pepere not made any one of those choices, this story would probably be ending differently, but God took over and changed his path to ensure that the story played out to it's fated end.
As an aside, I know many people struggle with fate vs God's Will. For me, they are one and the same. I also believe that all religions stem from the same God, so no matter what you call him or what your specific belief system is, the same Being is running the show. Call Him God, Fate, Great Spirit-- heck, call him Zeus if you want-- but to me, all faiths lead to the same place.
I don't know why some of the things that happen in my life happen; I've long since stopped trying to understand it in the moment. Sometimes I get lucky enough to find out within a short time span, but most of the time I just trust that the universe knows what it's doing, and that someday it'll make sense to me.
I'm so glad you're still hanging around, Memere. I wasn't ready for you to go, either. I'm glad the Heavens agree.