I’m a firm believer that things happen in life for a reason. No, we may not understand why, but sometimes things just work out. Some call it fate while others refer to it as irony. This is a brief story about my nephew Philip and his fiancée Leslie.
Philip and Leslie went to the same NC high school that Gin and I did many years ago. He graduated in 1998 and went to college at NC State for a few years. He wasn’t quite sure where he was headed by his junior year and felt that the US Army could help him find that direction. He enlisted for a few years in the Spring of 2001. We all know what happened that Fall. He was a Green Beret Medic with the Special Forces and did a long tour in Afghanistan. He reenlisted for a few more years, but this is where Fate stepped in. As a Medic, he was in a “safe zone” at a hospital in Baghdad, Iraq in April 2008. He could hear the incoming heavy artillery but couldn’t run fast enough. He was hit. His left foot was badly injured and he had other shrapnel wounds. He spent quite some time recovering at Walter Reed Army Hospital in DC. They were able to put his foot back together pretty good, but he has permanent nerve damage in his leg and foot and received a medical discharge from the Army. He has spent the past year and a half in Greensboro, NC getting his college degree in Political Science.
Leslie graduated from that same high school in 2000 with a full Morehead Scholarship to UNC. She’s quite active and enjoys the outdoors. She’s also very intelligent. After getting her degree at UNC, she went to George Washington Medical School in DC and is now in her third year of her Pediatric residency at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC. The neighboring city is Greensboro (Philip). She is about to start a three year fellowship in Neonatology. They had mutual friends in high school but didn’t date each other then.
Remember Philip’s injury? This is where Fate steps in. Leslie’s father owns a car dealership in Roanoke Rapids. While Philip was at Walter Reed, her dad would often ask my brother how Philip was doing with his recovery. On Philip’s first visit home, his mom Carla took him to the dealership to say hey and to have some work done on their SUV. While she was busy at the service department, Leslie just happened to drop by to talk with her dad. When she saw Philip, she sat down and they chatted for an hour and exchanged email addresses. Philip went back to DC for more treatment. Well apparently, he’s pretty good with words. They stayed in touch via email and during his next visit home, he said that he felt up to driving to Winston Salem to visit with Leslie. He was just barely able to walk on crutches and this was a three hour drive one way! I guess she was pretty good with words also! Well, one thing lead to another and they are busy now with their lives and are planning an elaborate wedding in May.
Without that horrible injury in 2008, would their paths have crossed? If so, would it have evoked the same results? With Valentine’s Day upon us, remember what small acts of fate fell into place to bring together so many happy couples. Things do happen for a reason…