Richard Niebuhr has coined a powerful quote:
Redemption is about the co-existence and interplay of fate and destiny. Fate is what happens to us beyond our control – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Destiny is an opening through which our choices and commitments have agency and impact.
Fate can be lovely or tragic. After arriving home from Kenya on this Wednesday afternoon, I was on the phone with Rob. He shared with me the latest fateful news. Mich fell again resulting in multiple breaks and fractures. Yesterday, I sat with him at the Stamford Hospital. He is hurting, literally and otherwise. Why so many setbacks and so much hardship for one man and his family? I don’t know. Fate has no mind for fair and unfair. It is both lovely and tragic.
Before I left the hospital, the other side of the coin reared its head. Mich wanted to share one of his recent poems. Fate would not deny him this creative outlet. His destiny as a lover and maker of poetry was still intact. I was moved. In the beginning was the Word. The Word was made flesh. The Word is energy. The Word is inspiration. The Word is love.
The Word does not defeat the reality of fate, no more than fate can defeat the presence of destiny.
We make poetry. We sit at the bedside of our friends and loved ones. We build schools in Africa.
The Word is love.