“You never know.” What a common phrase that is. We say it and hear it said all the time. Will the Dodgers take the World Series next year? You never know. Will I be accepted into the college of my choice? You never know. Will California finally get the rain it needs so desperately? You never know. Will the stock market keep up its extraordinary rally? You never know.
We go along the path of our merry lives thinking we pretty much know where we are headed. We do what we are told are all the right things we need to be doing to move us along in our journey. We do our best to keep relatively fit both physically and mentally. We try to eat right, keep our vices in check or at least at a moderate level, and take care of our loved ones.
Most of us want to be good people, we don’t want to purposely cause hurt to anyone. We try to be helpful and useful if we can. Hey, nobody’s perfect (another commonly used phrase) but most of us, if given the choice, opt for the high road and will attempt to do the right thing, or at least to do no harm.
We believe we know what to expect around each bend of life’s road. Like we know when we’re going to have to get a haircut, or take our car in for servicing, or change the air filter in our heating system, we think we pretty much have it all figured out. But we really don’t because, well, “you never know.”
Our big plans and expectations fall by the wayside when, as the expression goes, life happens. Sometimes we can make our own good luck with hard work and determination. And sometimes we can forestall our bad luck, by minimizing bad situations with quick thinking and staying alert. Fate is a stubborn thing, however, and it can work either for us or against us.
I’m reminded of the lyric from “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Walt Disney’s classic Pinocchio. “Fate is kind. She brings to those who love, the sweet fulfillment of their secret longing. Like a bolt out of the blue, Fate steps in and sees you through.” It’s a sweet sentiment and the perfect lyric for the message of the picture, but to quote from another song, “It ain’t necessarily so.” Lady Fate is not always so kind.
But when she is, it’s a beautiful thing. Fate was working in my favor about 41 years ago when I met my Jane. I never expected to meet her, I wasn’t looking to meet anyone, but I turned around and there she was. You Never Know. Thank you Fate.
This April will mark our 40th wedding anniversary. We’ve had quite a journey so far, been to a lot of places, done a lot of things, met just about every kind of person imaginable, and like everyone else, gone through a myriad of ups and downs along the way. Good times and bad times are all a part of the ride.
Along with the smooth paved highways we encountered plenty of dirt roads, potholes, black ice, and steep turns, all of which made up our 40-year road trip. But all in all we’ve been incredibly blessed; we’ve had so much in our lives to be thankful for. I’ve been in love with my road trip companion for four decades, and our adventure continues.
But now fate has delivered us a stinging blow, something we definitely never saw coming around the bend. It’s a life changer, and things will never be the same for us. We realize that there are many millions who are far worse off than we are, but this is no consolation. Knowing that doesn’t make our tragedy any less tragic for us.
I won’t go into any details here. The specifics aren’t really important. The important thing is that we are together, we will support each other and we remain very much in love. In fact, maybe even more in love than ever.
In summary then, while it is true that “you never know” what life has in store for you once in awhile fate can be kind and bless you with a few precious things. The love my wife and I share is one of those things that I do know is here to stay.
And, although our adventure has taken us down a bumpy road we never anticipated, it most definitely continues.
Greg Crosby is a writer and cartoonist and former executive at the Walt Disney Company.