The scene: It’s the end of an exhausting two-day trip to Houston. No reason to be exhausted because no real physical energy was expended. Just lots and lots of psychic energy. (no, not that kind of psychic… you’ve got to know me better than that by now!)
I’m sitting in a cab on the way to the airport chatting with the driver. I explain that I’m heading straight to the baggage claim office because a week ago Continental lost Sarah Jane’s carry-on bag in a weird chain of events that ended up with all her electronics (ipod, rented cell phone, camera, camcorder, etc) in Montreal instead of London. The Continental folks in London are being less than helpful and fortunately I’m on my way to the airport where their main baggage claim office is located, with several hours to spare before my flight home.
Absent-mindedly, I decide to check my e-mail on my cell phone, only to find a message from Sarah Jane saying that her bag has unexpectedly arrived and unbelievably everything is still there.
So I tell the cab driver, and say that maybe I’ll try to get on an earlier flight. He starts telling me how lucky I am, because of SJ’s lost bag and my timing for the earlier flight. He keeps repeating, “you are a lucky woman, you are a very lucky woman.”
And sure enough, I get to the gate and ask to be put on the standby list, and not only do I get a seat, I get a terrific seat. And even though I haven’t eaten since breakfast and it’s almost dinner time, I have an apple in my bag that someone had given me in the morning. And the flight attendant gives me two bags of pretzels without being asked.
Here’s my question: Am I indeed lucky? If you go by the theory that we make our own luck, it doesn’t apply in this case. Well, I was uber-polite to the gate agent, but that’s just good manners. Pretty much everything else was accidental. Ah, but is anything ever an accident, or is everything predetermined? Was I fated to have a good day?
And how to balance my extremely lucky Monday with my extremely unlucky Saturday afternoon? I won’t go into details; suffice it to say that I broke something that I consider precious and then proceeded to have a series of small bad things happen.
Last question — where does God fit into all of this? Because if you believe it was fated to happen, you have to believe that Something or Someone is in charge.
I, for one, will stick with randomness as the answer. Things happen (or “stuff” happens or, if you want the original phrase, s*#!*t happens). It’s not what happens that matters — it’s what we do with what happens.