Keanon Lowe grew up in a family struggling to make ends meet. His father left when he was nine. When money was tight or when things were hard, his mother would try to encourage him by saying that it was alright. “You’re just where you’re supposed to be,” she said.
This would be hard to accept over the years. It was hard to accept his college career at Oregon ended when the team lost in the playoffs to Ohio State in 2015. It was hard to accept when the NFL career he dreamed of ended by getting cut from the Arizona Cardinals after four days, with no more than a pair of gym shorts for his trouble. Then his first year as an NFL assistant ended when the coach who hired him got fired, and his second year ended the same way. Shortly thereafter, one of his best friends from his playing days died of an overdose.
This is where he was supposed to be? This is how things were supposed to go? These are the kind of twists and turns of fate the Stoics tell us we’re supposed to love? How could that possibly be right?
Well, as Greg Bishop (himself a fellow Stoic traveler) writes in his beautiful Sports Illustrated profile of Keanon, it is right. Because it is all leading somewhere, whether we know it or not. After all those losses and setbacks, Keanon ended up taking a job coaching at Parkrose High School...and working as the school security guard to make money on the side. On May 17th, Keanon was sent to Mr. Melzer’s Government class to grab a student who had been requested by a counselor. It just so happens that the very student he was looking for was working his way toward the classroom with a loaded shotgun.
In a moment, they met. Keanon was exactly where he was supposed to be. Instead of running away, he ran towards it. He fought the young man and stopped an active shooter from doing god knows what. Keanon’s mother had been right. The Stoics were right. We have no idea what life has in store for us or what it is saving us for—even as it kicks our ass and breaks our hearts. Whatever we are going through, whatever is happening to us, we must know that: we are where we are supposed to be right now. How’s that?
Because we can make it be where we are supposed to be. By the actions we take and the choices we make.