In the last few days:
A friend posts on Facebook: "Thank God for airbags. I was in a head-on collision today and walked away from the accident. The driver of the other car fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into my lane. I'm a lucky woman, but unfortunately my car was pronounced dead at the scene."
An American friend residing in Tokyo posts on Facebook that he, his wife and friends are safe.
A former student of my wife, a lovely Japanese man who had visited in our home along with his wife and young child, is from Sendai, Japan, ground zero for the tsunami. He wrote to say that he and his family are ok.
I discover on Facebook that a friend I had lost touch with in the mid-eighties, who was then undergoing chemotherapy, is still alive and still undergoing chemo.
This makes you think that God is in control, if not of THE universe, at least of your universe, and that frequently unnoticed little miracles are taking place every day. Underneath the relief, you know things could have turned out much differently. Instinctively, despite all the carnage you hear and read about, you want to GIVE THANKS that people you know of and/or care about are ok.
Jeff Greenfield has a new book, "Then Changed Everything: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics." In it, he writes:
“History doesn’t turn on a dime; it turns on a plugged nickel.” History “is as much a product of chance as of the broader forces at play.”
“Geography, topography, ethnicity, ideology, climate, natural resources, the search for wealth, mass migrations, all set the framework; but the random roll of the dice is as potent a force as any,” he writes. “A missed meeting, a shift in the weather, a slightly different choice of words open up a literally limitless series of possibilities.”