Lucking Out Providentially

Last week, I went out to lunch with a friend from work, and my wife joined us. My friend's daughter also came along, because she lives close to the restaurant (The International House of Food, the subject of a future post).

Afterward, my friend commented on how much he enjoyed meeting my wife and that his daughter had observed how ideally suited we seemed to be for one another.

I agreed. (My wonderful wife supplements and corrects my bookish and academic tendencies with a real-world kind of pragmatism.) And I expressed my agreement by saying that I had lucked out providentially

My friend liked the phrase. I like it, too.

I met my wife by a kind of luck. We shared a mutual friend and, by going to that friend's house for a book club, I got to know the woman who would later be my wife.

Aristotle, in his Physics, illustrates luck as a real cause of things with the example of the man who, digging for a well, happens to discover a treasure. It was like that for me finding my wife. It was luck.

But it was also Providence. God is in charge of the universe. Good things happen with Him knowing about them and willing them. (A book to read is this one.)

Luck and Providence are not mutually exclusive. If you want to ponder this, the most accesible text I know of is St. Thomas's treatment of fate, in which he says:

Now it happens sometimes that something is lucky or chance-like as compared to inferior causes, which, if compared to some higher cause, is directly intended.
For instance, if two servants are sent by their master to the same place; the meeting of the two servants in regard to themselves is by chance; but as compared to the master, who had ordered it, it is directly intended.

Thus it is that in this God-ruled world we can "luck out providentially."

Providentially, I lucked out in finding my wife.

Inner LifeJamie HansonComment