I don’t believe in “luck.” I believe we are “blessed.” You could call it Karma, luck, good fortune, chance, coincidence or maybe even the results of hard work. Whatever you call it, I think the joy in it comes from recognizing or, “seeing” it. Perception is everything. Have you heard that before? So the perception of a good thing happening in your life as coming from a higher source would be a blessing. I don't think those things are random, as I also don't think bad stuff is random. Oh dear, I guess I have to go there...
Bad things happen to good people because of two reasons; 1) Mortality (and all that that implies) and 2) Agency.
The thing with Mortality that people (I'm talking the anti-science people) sometimes seem to forget is that some things get stamped into our DNA and there's nothing we can do about it. Did you know that they can prove the susceptibility of certain diseases, including cancer, being stamped in a gene in your DNA? That gene can be turned on (and hopefully off—wouldn't that be nice... but then I digress into the chasm that is “gene therapy,” and I digress. Where was I? Oh yes,) and Voila you have Asthma. Or Cancer. Or Depression. Or Diabetes. Is now a good time to voice my opinion about Cancer? It sucks. But I digress, again.
So, Mortality. It is also affected by your environment. Chemicals (both in your home and in the air), physical (duh) AND emotional trauma. Yep, Emotional crap can turn on a bad gene. I haven't read the studies, but my guess would be that any time you receive a vaccine you might be turning on (or off, perhaps?) a gene. Maybe. The gene stuff is fascinating. Actually, you can turn on a gene by catching a cold or virus (this is true). So the very act of living and breathing can make something bad happen to you. Bummer. But that was part of the big plan. We knew that was going to happen and accepted it because of the other Great Idea/Gift.
Agency. The other reason bad things happen to good people is because of choices. Sometimes our choices; those are called consequences. Sometimes other people's choices; those are also called consequences. The difference might be that someone's choice to rob a bank and shoot someone obviously affects both the shootee (they could die) and the shooter (he has to live with the weight of killing someone—and hopefully—the legal ramifications of that choice). There are other ways though, too. Like texting and driving. Or maybe even something as simple as driving down the road and some animal gets in front of your car; you swerve, or maybe you hit it. There are still consequences. The animal could die. Depending on the size of the animal it could cause damage.
Wait, what does this have to do with “luck” or “blessings” as I'm calling them? Those would be the Good consequences. Like someone paying for your meal at the Fast Food place (I've done this and had it done for me). You know, that Pay It Forward thing. Or maybe, just maybe, you will never know that something good you did affected anyone.
I know it's Thursday and not Sunday but I need to digress a little. The reason I went on a mission for my church was because I wanted to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Really. That's all I wanted to do. I think if a person chooses to believe and be baptized it is deeply personal and totally their choice. I don't mind helping them learn but I am a no-pressure gal. That's probably why doing Mary Kay was kind of hard for me (selling Anything is hard for me!) because I totally believe in No Pressure. You should want it because You want it, not because I told you to! Ack! Don't give me that burden!
My favorite thing to do was to hand out books. And that was not easy! I remember my very last week on my mission my companion (we work in twos and I had a female companion) and I worked very hard to get as many out as possible. I think we set the record that week. (I don't remember clearly, but I know it was awesome.) That was a great way to end my 18 months of service.
While on my mission a fellow missionary shared a story with me that solidified my feelings about this. He told me that the reason he joined the church was because he found a Book of Mormon in his house that some missionary had given to some random person in their house and they went home and stuck it on the bookshelf. He found it (we're talking decades later), read it and THEN contacted the missionaries. Cool story. It confirmed my feelings about my purpose.
So, the point behind that little digression was just to illustrate how doing something for someone might have an impact in a way that you totally have no clue about. Ever.
Just because you might not know is not a reason to not do something nice. Because I also believe that we are God's “angels.” I think there are angels that we cannot see but I also believe there are more that we can. Those “angels” are the people around us. Spencer W. Kimball taught that, “it is usually through another person,” that God meets our needs. We are the answers to other people's pleadings with the Almighty. Also, God will not and does not intervene in every situation no matter how great our faith. It may be that the non-answer will be another answer. I know it's complicated.
The evening we found out about my brothers missing I was sure that we would find them unharmed. I believed with all my heart that if something horrible were to happen to anyone I loved, particularly my family, that I would just know. I did not. When we left the next morning and spent the day searching I was sure they were impatiently waiting. I was sure. Anyone who knows this story knows that what we did find was one brother in two feet of water. Drowned. Dead.
The other brother we never found.
I cannot tell you the emotional and spiritual torment that accompanies such an event. I was beyond flabbergasted that I did not know. I struggled with this. Eventually I came to realize that God does not always work that way. It did not matter that I had great faith. (And I was not the only one that did.) It did not matter that there were so many people who prayed and pleaded that my brothers would be found alive, it was not to be so.
I still don't know why. I don't expect to know why until I myself reach the other side and even then I may not fully comprehend. What I do know is that True Faith requires that I continue on in endeavoring to do my best until The End.
What I do know is that God loves me. He has shown me this in a million little ways that I call “blessings.” Sometimes it is a simple answer; like finding my car keys, or meeting someone and “clicking” and creating a life-long friendship. Sometimes it's big things like an article in the church magazine so perfectly timed that it could only be for me (yes, that happened to me). Sometimes, most times, it is by sending someone who answers my prayer.
No, I don't believe in luck.