Sunday, May 29, 2011

Statistics vs Divine Message: Which Would You Choose?

There has been plenty of stress and trepidation surrounding our upcoming move to Kentucky. Even just yesterday I wrote about some of the concerns I have going forward. This morning, however, something either amazing or silly happened to soothe my nerves some.

Back in college, Chanel and I were involved in the Catholic organization on campus at Rowan University. Although I felt like I was always there, Chanel regularly surprises me with an event I have no memory of, thanks to the rigid schedule engineers were held to. If there were 6 courses in a semester, 5 had one session and the other had 2, at least one of which would occur during gathering times of the club, meaning I missed out on special events, free food, or both on a regular basis.

But there was always Mass on Sundays and it was at Mass that I started something that sounds silly to confess. If you're at all familiar with the Eucharist, you know that the priest breaks a larger piece of wafer during the ceremony and includes it with the smaller wafers that are handed out to the congregation. The pieces of the larger wafer always seemed to me more significant, more meaningful. Eventually I found myself assigning greater significance to the rather random chance of receiving one of them versus receiving the standard wafer.

It basically broke down that if I would ask for guidance one way or another, the form of the wafer I'd receive at communion would be God's way of speaking to me. Yes, I'm an engineer and have a scientific mind and I accept that this belief is ridiculous to similar minded people. However, I am also a person of faith and I believe there is more than is known about the layers of the universe.

Through the many years since graduating college, I hadn't thought much about this old superstition of mine. At Easter, at a time when there was no job offer, several job prospects, and nothing set in stone in the least, in a flash an idea came to me that if I'd receive a fragment we were bound for Kentucky. I laughed at myself at the time for even thinking it, but a few moments later, there it was.

Weeks have gone by and I've dismissed the Easter fragment as coincidence, as I did around the end of college when I stopped thinking them signs from God. As you've read, my mind is on concerns following the move and, once again in a flash at this morning's Mass, the idea came to me that a fragment would confirm that this move is right for us. Before the altar, I approached the Eucharistic Minister who proceeded to fish around, chasing a particular host despite many more easily retrievable round wafers right on top and gave me another fragment.

Call me a conflicted individual, but while I am willing to dismiss plenty of things as coincidences when we cannot determine a cause or purpose, deep down I believe there are none and that everything happens for a reason. The philosophy that there is some, perhaps unknown, causality in all things is reflected in my approach to engineering and my management style in that I root around searching for the underlying causes of problems. Logically, I know that assigning significance to what kind of wafer I receive is foolishness, yet my faith allows me to believe that there is a greater power at work and it needs us in Kentucky for the foreseeable future. Certainly time will tell what that purpose is.

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