Fondue or Fate?

My best friend since pre-school, Stephanie, attends school at the University of Boston.  She ran the Boston Marathon both last year and the year before.  She was definitely the first person who popped into my head when I heard the tragic news of the haunting events that occurred at the finish line on Monday.  But after an initial minute of panic, I remembered that Stephanie is in Ireland right now.  Has been for the entire semester, studying abroad.

It is sickening and disheartening to me that even the innocent act of celebrating an active lifestyle can turn into something so deadly and dangerous.  My heart goes out to all who were physically, emotionally, and spiritually injured in the midst of this horrible violence.

But my mind goes in a different direction- in a direction that wonders why and how reasons for every act, every chance, every outcome of fate, are interconnected.  Stephanie was in Ireland during the marathon this year.  What would have happened had she been here?  Would she have been one of the three killed at the finish line?  Would she have been one of the hundreds of severely injured runners who may never run a marathon again?  Was she in Ireland just to study abroad, or was she in Ireland because fate wanted to protect her?

This reminds me of a similar story.  In the early nineties, my boyfriend’s mom, Laura, was traveling in France.  She was pregnant with my boyfriend, Dan.  She was supposed to catch a train at precisely 1:37 in the afternoon in order to arrive at her next destination in time, but she and her friends were temptationally cornered by an authentic Fondue restaurant that begged them to surrender their tickets and enjoy one last French fine dining experience.

Later that day, Laura received news that the exact train she and her friends were supposed to take to Germany had crashed.  Several people were killed in the accident, and many were injured.

Since then, Laura has always said that “Fondue saved [her] life that day.”  But was it the Fondue that saved she and Dan’s lives, or was it fate?

Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to ignore the cliche that “everything happens for a reason.”  Does anyone have similar stories or examples of events where they felt like fate was for or against them?  Close calls where an instinctive decision changed a life, or saved a life…funny feelings that shielded you from dangerous outcomes?

I think that after tragedies like the Boston Marathon, it’s important to try to remember times that fate has worked in our favor.

4 thoughts to “Fondue or Fate?”

  1. This is a great post. I have also thought about what could have been had I simply left my house ten minutes later, or if I decided to not attend an event. Although while reflecting on my life, I have not had too many close calls with danger, I know people that have. For example, my very good friend’s aunt was running the Boston Marathon and we later found out that she finished the race 12 minutes before the bombs went off. She is okay, and very lucky.

    Another example would be someone that my mom works with was supposed to go on a business trip last week. The morning he was supposed to leave, he said goodbye to his wife who had the flu and got in his car. He realized he forgot something inside, so he went back in to find his wife had fainted in the bathroom and hurt her head. He was able to take her to the hospital.

    What if my friend’s aunt had finished 12 minutes later? What if my mom’s coworker had not gone back inside? It is interesting to think about, and also scary at the same time. We do not have control over events like this happening, and I like to think that we are watched over all the time, and fate saves us in certain circumstances.

  2. Emily,
    Stories like this truly amaze me. Because I live in New York, I know a lot of people who used to work in the World Trade Center. Many of them had timing conflicts, and just happened to miss work the day the planes crashed into the buildings. My good friend, who was only 9 years old at the time, was sick on the morning of 9/11, so her mother stayed home to take care of her. Like the fondue, my friend argues that her fever was fate. This story will never cease to amaze me. It’s hard to deny things like fate when coincidences like this happen. Yet, I can’t help but also think about the hundreds of other people who were not saved by an ill child or some last-minute fondue or a study abroad trip to Ireland. Unfortunately, fate doesn’t work out in everyone’s favor.

  3. I can definitely understand how scary it is to consider how things could have turned out so differently if only one or two things were different. I already mentioned this in another post, but I’ll copy and paste my own example.

    I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday. I was in elementary school, and it was my friend’s birthday. He had brought in brownies for the class, and the two of us were bringing the extras around to other classrooms. All of a sudden, a teacher grabbed us and brought us back to our own classroom. She wouldn’t explain what was going on, and when we pressed her she told us there had been an accident in the city. I am from a part of New Jersey that has a clear line across to the New York skyline, so all of the kids immediately rushed to the windows to see what was going on. We couldn’t see much, except for the smoke going up.
    I suddenly realized that my dad, who usually works from home, had to go into the city that day. I was terrified and wanted to go home, but the teachers wouldn’t let us leave. As I learned later, my dad was actually supposed to be at the World Trade Center that morning. However, by some miracle we had a power outage the night before, and his alarm clock didn’t go off – he ended up missing his early morning train into the city, and decided to just work from home instead. Ever since then, I’ve always been very affected by these kind of tragedies and thought about people who weren’t so lucky.

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