I have always struggled with the saying “Everything happens for a reason.” It’s kind of like “God only gives you what you can handle.” Really? I can understand why we turn to those types of sayings; it is in our nature to try and gain an understanding as to why something happened. We want to comfort someone. We want to find an explanation for struggle and pain.
2012 was a particularly tough year in our family. In March of that year, my mom was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma in its aggressive stages; we geared up for a rigorous treatment protocol as she was deemed “healthy” and the doctors felt she could tolerate it. 3 weeks after her first bout of intensive chemo, my father died of a massive stroke in their front yard; he was planting flowers for my mom. By November of that year, I could no longer deny that my marriage was in trouble and in February of 2013, my ex-husband of 23 years moved out. One full year of family heartbreak. If someone had said to me at that point that “everything happens for a reason,” I think I would have punched them in the face.
And yet how do I reconcile this struggle; how do I explain to my girls the meaning of such difficult times? The answer? I don’t. Instead, I say that we cannot stop bad things from happening. Instead, I say that we have to face challenges head on. Instead, I say we have to unite as a family and get through it together. We have to find our blessings amidst the losses. And we have to find our purpose. Not the purpose, our purpose.
Sometimes our purpose is simply to get through each day. Sometimes it is to be able to give another member of our family a much needed hug; sometimes our purpose is found in a moment (holding my mom’s hand when the doctor told us she was in remission); sometimes our purpose is found later (there is no doubt in my mind that my personal struggles have given me strength and courage.)
Everything happens for a reason? Nope, not for me. The way I see it, “Things happen; and God has helped me through it.” (as did my family, my girls, my friends, my Cricket, my village 🙂 )
Photo credit: Me! That is a picture of me in Tybee Island, Georgia; a trip my sister and I took in the fall of 2014.
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