This Must Be the Reason

When I left work today I didn’t walk the same path that I take ninety-nine percent of the time. I turned instead to wend my way between the high rises in a narrower walkway over which the buildings hulk like squatting giants. It’s not any longer a route, but it’s less open, less free, and offers fewer options.

When I reached the street a woman came up to me, excused herself, and then quickly asked me if I knew the location of a particular bar, which, presumably, she was trying to find. As it happens, the bar in question is right across from my office building, and I pass right across the street from it whenever I leave my building the way that I normally leave my building. I directed her around the corner and gave her what further instructions she would need.

As I continued on my way I said, “So that’s why I didn’t go the way I normally do. So that I could be in the right place to help out this stranger.” God immediately bapped me on top of my head and told me to stop that. He says that’s one of the most annoying things about us humans; we want so much for there to be reasons for things, for there to be purpose to our lives, that we readily grab onto anything and everything to build up coherent stories in our minds, to explain away the randomness of it all, to give it meaning. At the extremes we even build conspiracies from commonalities and conflate causation with coincidence.

God would like us all to just take a deep breath and get over it. He points out that not just sometimes, but most of the time, things just happen. In the immortal words of Rosanne Rosannadanna, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” It’s not a question of “is something coincidental going to happen to you,” it’s just a question of when, how often, and will you even notice. So don’t worry about the number 23, don’t care that its digits add up to 5, and whatever you do, don’t be bothered by the fnords.

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