By Richard E. Bleil
Even today I struggle with whether or not I believe in fate, or indeed, how much faith to put into it. I’ve often viewed destiny as a stream, flowing through time, past opportunities, events, and things.
The stream of my destiny merges from time to time with those of other people. Recently my destiny has lead me to the need to reach out to a former student for a place to stay so I can regroup, and figure out where my stream of destiny is going next. In this place, my stream has merged with several new destiny streams. We are near an air force base, and through my situation, I have met a few people locally. I would not have met them were it not for my current situation. I don’t know how important these new connections will be, or if their stream will diverge from mine when I move on, as will happen within the next month or two.
The stream of my destiny has definitely meandered through some fascinating areas. When I think of what has happened, it would be easy to be bitter from many of the events of my life (and honestly, I have been hurt often enough that even today I am struggling to deal with the pain), but when you look at these events, in their entirety and as interconnected events, it’s such a fascinating journey down my stream.
Many years ago, my parents bought a science encyclopedia set designed for kids. I was a very small and nonathletic kid with no aggressive nature, making me a rather amazing non-athlete. Instead, I was the nerdy kid that spent time reading science encyclopedias. Yup, cover to cover, volume to volume.
This sent my stream of destiny to follow a path for the love of science. This love would direct my stream for my life, including today.
In my primary and secondary education, this stream lead me to take all of the science courses I could. In middle school, during a biology course, we had a “practical” on the organs of a frog, something that is important for everybody to know so we know where to strike the frogs when the invasion happens. (Okay, this is meant to be humorous; it actually is very instructive in understanding the roles of organs.) During this practical, there were ten pins in ten organs, which we were to identify. On the practical, I received a score of 9.5/10. What I missed was calling one of the organs “fat”, when, in fact, it was a “fatty body”. This seems kind of…obsessive…for a middle school biology course, but the disappointment lead me away from an interest in biology, where a vast majority of science majors end up, and into the physical sciences (chemistry, to be exact). As it turns out, the greatest need for scientists is in chemistry, which has few majors (but more than physics) and a great deal of jobs (compared to physics). It also allowed me to utilize my rather good skills in mathematics.
From my upbringing, I tend to be a workaholic. This characteristic, combined with my love of the physical sciences, lead me to attempting a double major in chemistry and physics. Unfortunately, this overburdened me, causing a rather excessively low GPA. At the time, it seemed horrendous, and prevented me from (immediately) going to graduate school. Again, my stream of destiny at work, as I gained experience in industrial analytical chemistry that I would not have had if my plan to go to graduate school immediately had come to fruition.
Eventually, I did get into graduate school, and earned my doctorate in chemistry from an ivy league school. This degree eventually lead me to a teaching position. It was during my major teaching appointment that my stream merged with my wife. Her jealousy lead me to resign my position, and eventually we divorced anyway. This was hurtful, but had it not been for her I would still be teaching there. Instead, this destiny lead me to experience as a forensic lab director and dean.
Today, my destiny has been making it difficult. With the experience I have, I cannot seem to find a job. This makes me wonder if maybe it’s time to live more free and pursue consulting work. With my experience in so many areas, I would be a highly successful consultant for a myriad of applications. Wherever my stream of destiny takes me, it will be an exciting journey.