Charles Ramsey, the hero of the three kidnapped girls (Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michele Knight)– their angel – was eating McDonald's when he heard Amanda Berry cry for help and rescued her from her captor(s). The subhuman kidnapper (whom I refuse to name, because he does NOT deserve any notoriety for his actions) had left the house that his victims were in because – he was going to get McDonald's food.
I wonder if it was the same McDonald’s that Ramsey and the kidnapper frequented. I wonder if they passed each other on the street that day going to and from McDonald’s not knowing how they would change the course of each other’s lives, the lives of the three women in that house with the young girl, and their families.
Ever notice the irony of life sometimes? The things that we pass off as mere coincidence? Maybe it’s not coincidence. Maybe it’s fate.
Have you ever been driving somewhere with a destination in your head – like you were on your way to work, and have driven the same roads a thousand times before, but for some reason, you kept going straight when you should have made that right turn? Do you ever wonder why that happened? I do.
Once I was on my way to a drugstore, and I made a wrong turn that didn’t make any sense to my conscious mind. I remember feeling momentarily frustrated that I then had to backtrack to get to where I was going. When I approached the road leading up to the store, I saw that a pretty bad traffic accident had happened about one minute before I got to that intersection on my re-routed journey. I would have been where that now demolished car was if I had driven my usual route. I stopped feeling so frustrated at that moment. Did my “wrong” turn just save my life? Maybe it wasn’t “my time” and fate or Divine intervention navigated those roads for me. Maybe I was meant to veer off course.
You can’t tell my former co-worker that it wasn’t more than luck the day that he was late for work when the World Trade Center was attacked in 2001. He would have been in that building had he not had to wait in a really long line for coffee that morning. He’s alive today because he had a coffee craving, and the checkout wasn’t moving as fast as it usually was. He’s never been so grateful for a cup of java in his life.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the stories where people have missed planes and initially were very bothered by that inconvenience, only to find out hours later that the plane went down and they were thankful that they weren’t able to board.
When I observe situations like this, I can’t help but think that everything happens for a reason.
I’ve read a book about fate and coincidence: When God Winks: How the Power of Coincidence Guides Your Life – by Squire Rushnell. It has become one of my favorite books over the years. I’m not a very religious person, and although the book references “God” in its title, it’s really not about God. The message is about fate, divine intervention, or coincidences too strong to ignore that are sometimes life altering. It’s about recognizing those signs in life, and when you do, embrace them, rather than dismiss them as nonconsequential. In this book, Rushnell gives many anecdotes about the lives of those who are our friends, neighbors, and people we pass on the street, to those who are famous, and shows that they are successful and happy because they have chosen to embrace these “signs” sent their way rather than dismiss them along their life’s journeys, and appreciate them, too – the “small” miracles.
It’s kind of interesting when you think about it.
If Charles Ramsey wasn’t walking by the kidnappers’ house that day, and it were a small child instead, playing outside, or an elderly woman hard-of-hearing, or a man on his way to work – too busy to stop and looking the other way – those girls would still be locked up against their will. It took a colorful man like Ramsey, who went with his instincts and didn’t over think things, who wasn’t too busy to rescue these girls and didn’t look the other way, to rescue them. He had to be in the right place at the right time; not someone else, and not before or after. Fate. Thank God for McDonald's.
This blog was also published via Patch Media in New York and New Jersey. In addition it was published in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Twinsburg, OH, Beachwood, OH, Stow, OH, North Canton, OH, Strongsville, OH, Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Mentor, OH, Mayfield and Hillcrest OH, Avon and Avon Lake, OH, Fairlawn and Bath, OH, Shaker Heights, OH, Solon, OH, Westlake, OH, and Brecksville, OH.
If you missed the radio broadcast based on this blog, you can listen in here. Look for the 6/24/2013 air date.