Thursday, May 14, 2009

twists of fate

I had an odd and unsettling experience today. I saw a couple of old friends today, while they were visiting the Kimmel Cancer Center. One friend is doing well, better than when we were younger. The other friend is not doing well at all -- he was the patient at the center. He is my age, married, with an 8 year old daughter. He has cancer. He is hoping the clinical trial he is participating in will save his life.

When we were all 17 years old, we were at basically the same point. We were all getting ready to graduate from high school. We liked to joke around, laugh, have a good time. Now it's 30 years later. And we are at really different points. The difference doesn't so much seem to come down to specific choices we made. It seems to be fate.

Why does life single out some people for hardship, and others for success? you fall in love, get married. It works out great for some people, awful for others. The starting point was the same. You have kids at 20, or at 30, or at 45. You lose a job, or luck into a career. You get sick, recover. You get sick, you die.

Random. Fate. Destiny. I don't know what to call it. I think though that sometimes awful things happen to good people. And sometimes great things happen to bad people. And there doesn't have to be something that turns that wheel in one direction or another.

We have to roll with what we have. And love the good stuff, because it's precious, and rare and maybe, just maybe, temporary.

1 comment:

Robin said...

Life is not for sissies, eh?

The mystery of why things happen to people drives many to organized religion. Many can't accept that there is no plan, so they find comfort in a higher power having a plan that they simply can't comprehend or are in no position to be privy to at this juncture.

I think we all need to do what we can given the hand we're dealt, and to help others whenever we can. Sometimes the meaning lies in how you respond to the bad hand, or how you respond to the unfathomable good hand that a not-so-good person was dealt.

A friend of mine died a few years ago, from cancer. The last time I saw her she was wearing a bandanna to cover her bald head. She knew she only had a few months to live. She had two kids in middle school. They just got back from a great Florida vacation. She was upbeat and energetic. I was astonished. If there is a Heaven, I'm sure she's gardening, swimming, and making cocktails for everyone.