This I Believe

Laurel - metamora, Michigan
Entered on February 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Gary died 24 years, 11 months and 27 days after I was born.

I didn’t know him very well, only that he liked to cook and made a good avocado salad that I’ll never get the recipe for now.

He was my mom’s cousin’s husband, a father of 4 (all adopted, most disabled because they wanted to give kids many couples wouldn’t even consider taking a beautiful life) and enjoyed collecting sports memorabilia.

By the time authorities were able to get into his smoldering car after it met with a semi at highway speeds on a wet October night, all that was left of him was his wedding ring.

I know, little ray of sunshine, aren’t I?

I say this because when it happened, it seemed like one of those sad, random things that occur from time to time. That’s why they call them “accidents” right? Just a series of coincidences and events.

Anyway, a few days ago one of my co-workers told me her daughter was finally pregnant, after five years of trying to conceive. And that’s great and I’m happy for her but–stay with me here, I think I’m going somewhere with this– it got me thinking about all the women I know who have gotten pregnant accidentally.

Since I don’t have a baby yet, the only thought I’d really given to the whole pregnancy thing was the precautions necessary to prevent it. When you’re young, people act like if you look at a guy cross-eyed without contraception you’ll get pregnant. But talking to this woman made me realize how amazingly unlikely conception is. There’s actually only about 48-72 hours a month you can become pregnant, and then only if the egg is receptive and healthy and the sperm are determined and present. Creating life is an amazing blend of timing and magic that only happens if all the stars are in alignment and pieces are in place. It’s actually amazing there are ever any babies at all, let alone all the ones that happen “accidentally”.

But when it takes so many seemingly random forces acting first independently and then in harmony to create a life–or, in the case of Gary as he drove down the highway that evening, take one–it kind of makes me wonder if it’s actually possible these things are random at all. It just defies reason to me.

So here’s what I believe; Either everything is an accident or nothing is.

To think otherwise is just difficult for me, when you pull away from the emotions and just look at the big picture

Life, death, love, hate, rain, snow, broken bones and hearts, success, failure, the dog you have, the sweater you’re wearing, the “one that got away”, regret, redemption… hell even “cream or sugar”…maybe, just maybe, it’s all the exactly way it’s supposed to be.

Even when it’s sad.