I watched a documentary last night before I fell asleep. The people in it were about to attempt a challenging feat. Several of the group were going to perish during the attempt. A speaker addressing the group was making that point clear. However, none of the people backed down from the challenge. I can only guess that no one suspected it would be them. I, too, once thought I was smarter, faster, and stronger than those that meet with misfortune.
And then I encountered fate…
While thinking about my rendezvous with fate, I am reminded of all the Latin I translated in high school. The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Jason and the Golden Fleece. Many times, I have heard talk about fate. Numerous times, I have read about fate. It is clear to me that, until very recently, I did not comprehend it. Fate is that force that intervenes and derails expected outcomes.
It does not matter who is faster, stronger, or smarter. Anything can happen when fate is added to the mix. Sometimes, it is what we call luck. While other times, it is called a coincidence. It is those little things that often go unnoticed at first. Frequently, they are only recognized in hindsight. These little things occur during our journeys and redirect the course towards fortune or disaster.
Before all this, maybe I was a little pompous and somewhat arrogant. I used to think that bad things will not happen to me if I follow all the rules to avoid them. During my pregnancy, I ate right, took prenatal vitamins and folic acid, I avoided x rays and second hand smoke, and I received excellent prenatal care. According to what I perceived as the rules, I expected to have an ordinary pregnancy. Even when the doctor told us that he suspected preeclampsia, my husband and I did not believe it. We had done everything right. Someone else was going to have preeclampsia… It could not possibly happen to us.
We were naive.
Almost a year later, I feel as if my understanding of vocabulary has changed. The word “fortune” no longer means monetary wealth. Nor, is “beautiful” limited to describing aesthetics. Fate, to me, is not predetermination. It is a roll of the dice that interjects itself into life. It is the randomness of life. At most, we can only attempt to load the dice. Sometimes things happen… even if one is faster, smarter, and stronger. Just ask Odysseus.