Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Have No Explanation

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.


amy122389 said...

Sometimes there just isn't an explanation, Ben.....  Que sera, sera....

::hug hug::


rdautumnsage said...

As Amy said sometimes there are no explanations.....You can pratically pick any day of the year and look back in history to find things that happened on that particuliar day to change events as we know them...

I stopped questioning the why...perhaps because I fear the answer more. I used to ponder the how and why of me still being here...I survived one doozey of a life so far. If I question the miracle too much, I truly fear losing the life I've challenged the odds for....(Hugs) Indigo

astoriasand said...

Strange as it may seem Ben I can look back over the years and find bad things have happened on the same date in my family.Sometimes it worry's me around these times ,other times not.I am sorry to learn of the death of a co-worker Condolances to all her friends and family.Take Care God Bless Kath astoriasand http://journals.aol.co.uk/astoriasand/MYSIMPLERHYMES

oldhousegal said...

Ben-  I was shocked to hear of Jean's passing also.  I would have guesstimated her age somewhere in the 50s also, but I was told she was 66.  I'm not a religious person by any means, although I wouldn't call myself an atheist either.  I guess I just don't have enough information to answer the question: Is there a God?  But I do believe in randomness.  We humans are meaning-making machines, always looking for the reason or the why, but sometimes I think there is no reason and no why.  Stuff just happens.  And it happens in a chaotic, arbitrary way.  The day of our death is just that, no more, no less.  That terrifies us so we attribute whatever meaning we can find (or create).  It's why we still think there was a grand conspiracy to kill Kennedy and why some believe that the US government was somehow involved in plotting 9-11.  To answer your question, though, is January 28th a special day?  I say YES.  Each day, each moment, is special because in that moment we create our lives and once the moment is gone, it's gone, no do-over.  I think the meaning of Jean's life (and death) resides in how it will impact those of us who knew her and maybe bring home the realization that we are not going to live forever either, so whatever it is we want to do with our lives, we need to get moving, now.  -Sandy

faveanti said...

I agree with Amy (#1):  there are no explanations.  Personally I think it's best we don't look for any!
Angie, x

gazker said...

Weird or what! If you realy want to crap yourself, type in 2012 in Google. It's the end of the world! The Mayan calendar which all calendars are based on finishes in 2012................ Freakyyyyyy

vkmay said...

god, doesn't bad stuff happen to everyone and the date happens along with that?  I believe there are no accidents in life, but to affix a incident occurences to a specific date, weeeeell, that's another thing entirely.  If you start hanging on to that one, you'll be dreading every 1/28 that comes along, overlooking the other 364 days that might bring dread also...let it go and know that there will always be events in life that go unexplained.  Well, maybe unexplained until you get over to the "other side" and know what the truth is...till then, let it flow.