Before anything else, dear readers, know that however important spirituality is in my life, I am not a believer in what I call smoke-and-mirrors theology: those coincidences to which people ascribe powerful religious significance. As a student of magic - the David Copperfield kind, not any kind of dark art - I've seen the powerful hold incorrect assumptions play in self-delusion. So here's my dilemma...
On January 28, 1984, a 38-year-old co-worker died suddenly from an allergic reaction to prescribed medication.
On January 28, 1985, the father of another co-worker in the same small office died.
On January 28, 1986, I received a phone call at my office telling me that Challenger exploded.
On January 26, 1987 (ok, a couple of days early), I received a phone call at work telling me my father had been shot.
Of course it's possible to pick out any date and find bad things happening. And I'm not a superstitious person. Still, it's not hard to see how this string of events - not just things, but big things, ranging from the bad to the downright catastrophic - would be enough to give one pause.
At work today I was thinking about this, about the silly superstitions that played in my brain for years after that, and how they're made to look even sillier by our having gotten past so many January 28's since then - including this year's - without incident.
Reveling in my smug delight, I encountered a co-worker who looked stunned and upset. One of our colleagues, returning to the mainland from a vacation in Puerto Rico, died suddenly on the plane. Jean had recently quit smoking and was an avid exerciser, a high-energy good humored person, and a delight professionally and personally. I don't know her age but will guess at mid-to-late 50's.
Shaking my head in shock that her sudden death happened at all, let alone today, I learned it actually happened yesterday. January 28.
As an engineer I say to myself, "You're a man of science. How can you possibly think there's a connection?" The problem is that I can't help but to follow it up with, "You're a man of science. How can you ignore data just because you don't yet know where they fit in?"
Normally, I try to bring journal entries to some logical point at the end. I am unable to do that today. And maybe that is the point.
As I said - I have no explanation.