I've said before that I'm comforted by the sheer enormity of the universe, and my unimaginably insignificant role in it. I don't see those chance happenings that others do as ways that the universe tried to make my day, or tell me something; for me, the randomness of life is so comforting.
Alas, even a cynic can wonder about fate from time to time.
I had an hour in the car yesterday while at work, by myself, out in one of the many stretches of rural America that lacks an FM signal. I scrolled through my NPR reader and landed on the Diane Rehm show, and randomly chose an hour segment titled "Ann Hood, The Red Thread".
Having never heard of either Ann Hood or her red thread, imagine my surprise to hear that she is an author who writes from the perspective of a bereaved parent. She lost her 5 year old daughter Grace to an invasive streptococcal infection abruptly, and used knitting as her therapy to help her navigate her grief.
The interview was excellent, you can find it here. She wrote a semi-autobiographical novel 5 years after her daughter died called The Knitting Circle. I hope to read it, though part of me thinks I'm not quite ready yet.
The novel for which she was being interviewed today, The Red Thread, refers to the ancient Chinese belief which states that when a child is born invisible red threads connect that child's soul to all those people - present and in the future - who will play a part in that child's life. As each birthday passes, those threads shorten and tighten, bringing closer those people who are fated to be together. After Grace died, Hood and her husband decided to adopt a baby girl from China. The book is a fictional account of five families who go to adopt, as well as the account of the chinese mothers who made that horrible decision to give their infants away. The concept of the red thread obviously runs deep in the adoption community. It's a lovely thought.
Don't worry, readers, I'm not going soft. I'm still the cold-hearted scientific non-theist that I've always been. But, that was weird, and the interview very touching.
As an aside, I'm having an unusually light for weeks. Henry is, though it pains me to write this, far from my mind. At times I feel like his story happened to another family. The intrusive thoughts that were disrupting me constantly a few weeks ago are gone. And, as all grieving parents do, I'm starting to feel guilty about all of this. I can enjoy a few of the good days in a row, and then I start to wonder what's wrong with me. I keep thinking I should have learned by now that it will be back. I'm trying to continue to enjoy the days I have.