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things happen for a reason

This is my 7th attempt at this post. I am struggling with it because I am focused on the overall message being positive. While that is the intention at the beginning of every draft, inevitably the final outcome ends up coming across as “shit happens.”

That’s why this is attempt number seven. I don’t want this post to come across with that message. My goal is to explain why I believe “things happen for a reason” or “things work out the way they need to.”

The reason I subscribe to this way of thinking is that we are all the product of the previous decisions and consequences throughout our lives. We are exactly where we are right now BECAUSE everything has happened the way it has up until now. I’m not going to dismiss the fact that terrible and unpredictable things happen but in most cases, what is happening is a direct result of everything else that has happened. So there is a reason it is happening and the it will work out the way it needs to because we will deal with it now and move forward. That may take time. It may be painful. We may wish for things to work out another way, but they are what they are.

See, this is where the “shit happens” takes over.

What my intention is, however, is to say: when things happen make sure you react the way you intend your life to go forward. Make sure, even if you have to pause to deal with the overwhelming emotions and pain and everything involved with whatever is happening, you are at least facing the direction you want to go in life. Why? Life WILL keep moving forward with or without you. The longer you are headed in the wrong direction, the harder and longer it will take for you to correct that in the future.

Sometime it takes a lot of time and distance to fully appreciate—maybe understand or accept is a better word choice—why something happened. Telling someone who is in the throws of distress over a loss, divorce, terrible accident, monetary difficulties, etc. that things happen for a reason is like throwing water on a grease fire. Rather than extinguishing the fire, you have caused it to spread.

That said, think of your terrible life event life like the distant formation of a star. At the site of the star things are being sucked in and destroyed to create the new star. From a distance, however, what we see is creation. We see a bright new light forming in the universe. From a distance we are able to see the bigger picture of what the new star brings—something that can’t be seen in the star’s direct sphere of influence.

So I guess my positive take away, to keep this from spiraling negatively, is that things do work out for a reason. However, be aware of your vantage point. If it seems like everything is being torn apart around you and there is no chance to survive, recognize you are in the “sphere of influence” and there may be little you can control. Be certain you are facing the way you want and deal with your pain and whatever else you need to.

If you can see how “things are going to work out” you probably have some distance. If you are the one struggling and you have some distance, great. If you have distance because you see someone else struggling, recognize that while they are in the midst of the chaos it is not a good time to comfort with your astounding clarity on how “things happen for a reason.” Rather, be there to comfort them with other words of compassion and help buoy them up while they are struggling. Being present speaks volumes.

In the end, things work out. They work out because life keeps going no matter what. They happen the way they happen and that alone is the reason. Everything before it has led to that thing happening just like numerous things to follow are the direct result of “this happening.” None of this make it easier “in the moment.” It will take time, and that time is different for everyone, so allow whatever time it is to happen naturally.

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