When my father in law died, some family members were waxing poetic about coincidences and signs. I understand the need to find comfort in meanings and looking for evidence of a greater plan. I do. I just don’t buy into it. In fact, it was hard for me to not roll my eyes. I’m not unkind for the most part, but it is a reverse coping mechanism. Or something.
At any rate, my step-mom-in-law is convinced her husband died at a particular time on purpose because he liked the number four and the hour he died was 8:44. That’s just an example of the magic thinking going on. I honestly don’t know why that would make anyone feel better. Maybe it made her feel he had some choice in when he left this life.
I used to work in finance, and I know all too well how numbers and information can be massaged to tell the story you want to hear. I worked hard at trying to balance all the data I had to find truth and some sort of reality in my findings. But it’s not an exact science. Hell, science analysis does the same thing. If I want to justify drinking, I can Google all sorts of articles that will support the benefits of alcohol consumption or prove how “normal” my drinking was. However, as an analyst, one has to do her best at setting personal wishes aside in order to be as objective as possible.
I wish I believed in a grand plan and that my father-in-law and my beloved grandparents were watching over us. It would help my perennial existential crises. But my best moments in life are when I’m not trying too hard to find meaning in things. When I simply exist and wonder at the world around me that I can never fully fathom.
I think it’s part of why I love running. It’s me and what my body can do. Everything else falls away. My life is not defined by a big picture philosophy in those stolen miles. I don’t need a purpose except to live in that now.
Yesterday I saw the most amazing double rainbow I’ve seen. The iPhone photos don’t do it justice. The main ring was as bright as a Crayola. And I could see both sides of both rainbows. Not bad for standing in the local grocery store parking lot getting soaked by the rain.
In that moment, everything was ok.