Tempting fate by asking: Is it all a bunch of hooey?

red diceJust a couple of rambling thoughts this morning …

Over coffee, a friend today say he is a big believer in fate. Everything happens for a reason, he said. Nothing ever happens by accident.

The idea of fate is something I’ve been pondering lately.

Merriam-Webster defines fate as the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are. The Google search that led me to that definition also pointed to this website of quotes about fate.

I especially liked this quote from Bryce Courtenay, the best-selling novelist from Australia who died last year at age 79: “Sometimes the slightest things change the directions of our lives, the merest breath of a circumstance, a random moment that connects like a meteorite striking the earth. Lives have swiveled and changed direction on the strength of a chance remark.”

This is sort of unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory for me. I’m really not that deep. But I can’t help but wonder:

  • What really brought me to Muscatine in the first place? It had to be something more than a job that was eliminated — some four years after I started it — in yet another round of newspaper layoffs and expense-cutting measures.
  • Why — after that job was eliminated and followed by eight months of stress and searching — did I finally find the job I now have at MCSA?

I don’t really know the answers to those questions. And many of the reasons that have rumbled through my mind don’t seem likely to me. Or it just may be that they seem unlikely because they make me uncomfortable.  And that led me to another quote, this one from Lemony Snicket, the pen name of American novelist Daniel Handler: “Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”

I want to think that is true. But the old cynic in me can’t help but think it’s all a bunch of hooey and that I’m just over thinking these things. It may be nothing more than it needs to warm up so I can go on some long bicycle rides to clear my head. And that has to happen sooner or later, right?

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