The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!


Monday, September 11, 2017

It's All Interconnected

I have always loved coincidences, largely because I don't believe in them, and enjoy putting their seemingly disparate pieces together, showing how interconnected they all are. I actually believe that everything is a part of God's plan, that everything is connected. Nothing is mere coincidence. I don't mean to say that God plans all the evil in the world -- not at all. No, evil is there, all around us, because we too often welcome it, because we choose it. It came into the world when our first parents chose it and it's still hanging out with us. But God does make use of it, and to demonstrate His power, turns it into good. As St. Paul reminds us:  "We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose" [Rom 8:28]. Did you get that -- "all things" and "according to His purpose"? That's why I don't believe in coincidences.

In my last post I mentioned how, at least as they relate to my life, the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, Hurricane Donna of 1960, and Hurricane Irma of recent fame are interconnected. All three came into prominence during the week of my birthday, September 13. In my post I focused only on the hurricanes themselves, but there was another interesting connection that tied me to that 1944 Great Hurricane, one that I had read about years ago, but had forgotten.

73 years ago, as that hurricane made its way up to New England, it took the lives of well over 300 people, most of them lost at sea. The largest number of these were the crew of a United States Somers-class destroyer, USS WARRINGTON (DD-383). The ship had spent much of the war serving in the Pacific and had just completed repairs in both New York and Norfolk. She was steaming south en route to Trinidad when she encountered the hurricane near the Bahamas. The high seas led to water pouring into the vents to her engineering spaces which ultimately shut down her propulsion system and resulted in her sinking. Of the 321 men aboard, only 73 were rescued. She sank on the very day of my birth, September 13, 1944. Two days later that same hurricane poured over 10 inches of rain onto St. Vincent's Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the city where my mother gave birth to me, her second son.
USS WARRINGTON (DD-383) in 1938
I was born into an all-Army family. My grandfather served in the Spanish American War and the Boxer Rebellion, and my father served in World War Two. My older brother graduated from West Point in 1962 and served in Vietnam. The only person in our family who spent time in the Navy was an uncle, my mother's half-brother, who served as a seaman on a destroyer during World War One. I didn't know Uncle Bill all that well, but enjoyed my few conversations with him during my early teens. He died in 1959 when I was only 15. Anyway, on September 13, 1944 no one in our family would have anticipated that I would graduate from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1967 and eventually retire as a Captain in the U. S. Naval Reserve. But I did. All part of God's plan.

Commander Lewis Warrington
Here's another non-coincidental connection. The USS WARRINGTON was named for Lewis Warrington (1782-1851) a naval officer who fought the Barbary Pirates in the Mediterranean and later the British during the War of 1812. He was quite the hero during the latter war. Warrington went on to serve as temporary Secretary of the Navy and Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance. Now, that's all wonderful, but Warrington is also the name of a district of Pensacola, Florida, the neighborhood right outside the main gate to the Naval Air Station. It was, of course, named for Lewis Warrington. Where was my first assignment immediately after graduation from the Academy? To Pensacola where I would spend the next 16 months learning to fly naval aircraft. I also met Dear Diane in Pensacola where she had lived most of her young life. We were married at the NAS Chapel exactly 186 years after Lewis Warrington's birth.

Martha (Cavanaugh) McCarthy, RN
One more connection...The place so mistreated by the hurricane at the time of my birth, St. Vincent's Hospital, was also the hospital where my mother earned her RN and worked as a nurse. It was, of course, named for St. Vincent de Paul, the 17th-century French priest who devoted his life to serving the poor. Sixty years later, when we moved to Florida in 2004, to what parish was I assigned? St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wildwood, Florida.

Now do you see why I don't believe in coincidence? I'd much rather believe in God, who I am convinced enjoys making all these wonderful connections in our lives.


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