Luck

   July 2016, Ocean City, NJ

July 2016, Ocean City, NJ

In the course of my day whenever I tell a certain friend of mine that “I am lucky,” he instantly says to me, “We make our own luck.” I think he’s paying me a compliment, but I must admit that usually I think luck follows me, finds me, bursts upon me, without my doing a thing. Yes, I think very often that I am one of the luckiest people I know.

Ironically, I think that one of my greatest strokes of luck is that I am even lucky enough to identify my luckiness. As an example…over the past New-Year weekend, I watched several episodes of the Twilight Zone marathon, and noted one particular episode “The Trouble With Templeton,” wherein an aging actor complains and feels defeated by his advanced state in life; but he waxes sentimental and remembers his first wife and his early career and says with a slight smile, “There are some moments in life that have an indescribable loveliness to them.” I loved the phrase—as I said in an earlier blog, it captures an idea so perfectly that it can’t be improved—so I copied it down…the Twilight Zone writers are among the best writers in television.

Months later, on a chilly Sunday night, I went outside at 3 a.m. to watch a meteor shower; the skies were brilliantly clear and the temperature had dropped and a slight breeze stirred the trees and my neighborhood was silent but for the breeze, so I climbed into my sleeping bag on the front lawn and watched the skies. Within 5 minutes a meteor silently streaked across about 20° of the sky; within the hour, I was treated to two dozen shooting stars and even watched a satellite crawl across the sky, too. I loved that the universe had put on this show and that I had seen fit to set my alarm and go out in the cold to watch it. In a haze of pre-dawn sleepiness, I wondered, if I am happy to have these meteors flame up for my entertainment, are the meteors happy that I’ve taken time to watch them? But then I thought—lying alone in the cold and dark, loving the breeze in the branches, loving the view of the sky and its momentary silent streaks, knowing that the harmony of the universe had tumbled rocks through millions of miles of empty space to burn up in our atmosphere…just for me—I thought of the words of the Twilight Zone episode: “There are some moments in life that have an indescribable loveliness to them.”

Months later, after a violent rain storm had blown through our neighborhood, the sky opened to the west and the sun broke out on the late-afternoon horizon. We walked outside to see if a rainbow had formed under the departing clouds. To our amazement, the full arc of a rainbow was visible…something I’d never seen before. My wife, my daughter, and I tried to capture it with our cameras. I thought again of the Twilight Zone quote, because the sight and the moment certainly had an “indescribable loveliness” to them.

That is a central “luck” of my life: disparate elements come together at any given moment in my mind, one that makes the other even better, two that give each other a new quality. My life isn’t just a trip through time, it isn’t just me here stuck inside my head…life, my life, is having the luck to enjoy how everything combines to make those moments of “indescribable loveliness.” Like when a line from a 1960s TV show helps me enjoy a meteor or a rainbow.