What's Luck got to do with it? Nothing? Everything?
I had a conversation this week with my oldest son, Will. He and some friends were playing reindeer games at school a week before finals when he fell squarely on this knee, severely injuring it. X-rays at the emergency room in Charleston confirmed that nothing was broken, but it sure was (still is) swollen and hurt like heck (Will has a very high pain tolerance, which was not a good thing when he was young, but is certainly good for him now). He was given a two-day supply of painkillers, a relatively strong brace, crutches, and ice packs. With some supportive phone calls from home, real assistance from several friends -- in the form of rides AND therapeutic trips to the beach -- he made it through finals. His father and younger brother then flew down to South Carolina to move all of Will's stuff into storage and brought him home.
Several doctors appointments and one MRI later, we discovered that he had NOT broken his kneecap, nor torn his patellar tendon. However, he did come as close as possible to breaking his knee and extended his ligaments as far as they could possibly go without tearing off the bone. His prognosis is excellent, requiring a strong brace, crutches for a few more days, and then 6-8 weeks of physical therapy.
Will's conclusion? "I have an angel protecting me. Things always seem to work out."
You can imagine, I almost drove off the road.
WHAT? An Angel? Are You Kidding Me?
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for angels. And, I'm all for things working out, especially for my children.
However .... Why, Will, do you think you didn't break your knee? Did it have anything to do with strong bones, athleticism and relative wise choices? Lots of milk? Healthy living and eating? The doctor actually said, "Good thing he's an athlete," or the bone would have smashed to bits, along with the ACL, MCL and any other "L" capable of tearing.
And, by the way, do you have any idea how hard your father and I work, and have worked, to get you to where you are today? To help you through difficult situations, at school and in life? To fully prepare you for an independent, mature life as a successful, productive adult? To make sure you will be able to support yourself well, be happy, and make a contribution to the world?
Well, let me tell you. Will got an earful. Just to let him know that Luck had very little to do with his current situation.
Except, of course, that he's right. He Was Lucky. We Are Lucky. Life is full of hard work, but almost every day I realize how lucky we are. We do work hard, on our careers, on our family, on our home, and with/for our children. But all our hard work is nothing without a large amount of luck.
When my father died suddenly almost 8 years ago, I thought our luck had changed forever. And, maybe it had, for our lives have become forever affected by his sudden absence. But, consider this.
Last week, late Friday afternoon, a father (48 years old) from St. John's Prep was driving with his son (15 years old) in the car. It appears the father suffered a heart attack, because he inexplicably careened at full speed across traffic head-on into a telephone poll. He died instantly; his son, a freshman basketball player, died the next day at a Boston hospital. Classes were cancelled for today and the entire school, including Ethan, is attending the funeral.
I cannot imagine that family's pain.
Sometimes, Luck has everything to do with It.