I think the first time I heard the saying “everything happens for a reason” I was somewhere at my grandparents and my mother told my grandmother not to tell me that my youngest aunt died. She just asked me all of a sudden about my aunt, I was a little kid back then and I couldn’t figure out the plan. After finding out how attached I am with my aunt, gradma sighed and said “maybe everything happens for a reason”. I made the connection after I arrived home at my parents, mom took me aside and she told me. My aunt died with head cancer of some sort. But this goddamn phrase was repeatedly uttered by those around me in attempts of comforting me and I could not even with the sound of it. Syllable by syllable I… cringed, as I could not figure out what rhyme or reason there was for the scary things to happen. A woman or a girl or a man or a boy so smart, so into family and friends, so respected in his groups; how could such an event be justifiable for people? It just doesn’t make sense. It is what friends, family, and even strangers say to provide comfort, without considering what meaning this phrase really carried at all.
It’s not like it’s a saying we are told to avoid. Sometimes in those situations it’s all we have to say because it’s what we’ve been prepared to say or believe or what we are just used to saying. When we are young, the phrase is built in our underdeveloped brains and we grow up to believe it to be true without knowing any better. Yet each time those very words were spoken, I filled with anger, denial and grief without any belief that this phrase could ever get me by or sense.
As I grew to an age of comprehension, I began to hear this phrase more, and not just when things went wrong, but when things went right as well. However, each time I heard it, regardless of the condition, I reflected on my aunt’s passing or others or recently one of the greatest people I admired and again thought… what reason could there be.
I am thirty four years old and I still find myself pondering the thought, but I have learned to accept that not everything will come with an explanation or some sort of terms and conditions or instructions. I initially longed for a reason even more so than others, because it was others that contributed to my aunt’s passing. To give you the back story, my aunt died from being beaten with a fist on her head by a man who wanted to sexually assault her. Surely, this has much to do with the Universe planning something for her, right…?
Trusting in the universe and that things work out as they should is one thing, but identifying one’s own death that was not wanted or caused by them as one of these instances just doesn’t seem right.
We always seem to be searching for the “why.” Why we are here, why things happen, and why things don’t. As I think it, there just isn’t always one.
However, to many others who agree in using this saying to many or all situations, there it is: a nine-syllable phrase with so much but so little meaning. I know when people use it, it is with the best of intentions. But to those struggling to find meaning behind much bigger, more life-altering events, it can make someone feel less at ease than they already do.
When bad things happen, we are meant to feel sad in whatever way we wish or what we feel is most appropriate. We are not meant to hide how we feel and immediately accept that it has happened for a reason and it is time to move on. It is time when we say it is time, and some people just never do, even if it appears so. With time, I have been able to move on from the intense stages of anger I experienced, along with great grief, which have now translated into much smaller, less frequent feelings of sadness. But that doesn’t mean I have moved on from the fact that it happened and I don’t still question why. Of course, there is no “reason” to justify what happened, much like any other occurrence of that sort.
Saying that things happen for a reason is basically another way of saying we don’t have control over the events in our lives and that is not entirely true. We do have control over certain events but for those in which we don’t, we can at least adjust the sails.
We just grow up to believe that we don’t. That some universal being is in control and we are not. That it is for the best and we must not believe otherwise. However, as we grow older and become more open-minded, we realize that is not always the case.
There just isn’t any sugarcoating when it comes to bad things happening. It certainly just sucks. Yet, some people like to believe or help others believe, that it is due in part to some worldly plan that culminates over time. I don’t feel as though there is some cosmic plan, because that sounds like the worst plan ever considered. We fail a test so there must be a reason. We get stuck in traffic so there must be a reason. We’ve been dumped so there must be a reason. Yet, there doesn’t have to be one and as noted, there often isn’t one. Instances such as these stated above however, do often lead to something positive; the practicing of some beneficial virtue or realization. I know in my case it did.
While my situations were the entire opposite of positive, I learned to make the best of it. I learned to be there for others who experienced what I had and what to say. I learned to take care of others, I learned to love. Love those around me, love my life, the love of my life and love what was to come – the good, the bad and the ugly.
This term “love” comes hand in hand with appreciating what you have when you have it. I’ve never taken anything for granted as I know what it’s like to lose something close to me. In my case, it was someone, and someone I valued more than anyone else. And it made me like this – full of hope and full of love and I think this is the most important thing to become.