We all have our little pet peeves, commonplace sayings or activities that drive us insane. Sometimes these aggravations are reasonable, sometimes less so. Some we make public, some we keep to ourselves.
Mine is a phrase, one that many of you probably use, one that brings you comfort. In a way I envy that because I just can’t bring myself to believe that “everything happens for a reason”, that our bad times are moments meant to test us or make us stronger, that they will eventually lead to a greater good or purpose.
For some this is an extension of religious beliefs, the idea that there is a higher power with a grand plan for all of us, a trust that there is a benevolent force guiding our journey. I mean no offense to any that feel this way. I just don’t believe it.
For others it’s a coping mechanism, a straw to grasp at when drowning in despair. A way to make sense of the senseless. I understand that, the search for light in the darkness. I’d encourage anybody there to hold onto that, to use every tool available to get yourself through your travails.
How many decisions do you think that we make over the course of a single day? Hundreds, thousands, millions? Some are small, some are big. Some right, some wrong. Each one, each metaphorical right or left turn taking us further from where we just were and leading us down new roads. Sometimes the differences seem insignificant, but are they really?
I don’t think they are.
I think that everything that happens to us, good and bad, comes from these decisions. I don’t think we are capable of tracing everything back, don’t think hindsight always shows us our wrong turns or even allows us to be able to identify them as such. I don’t think that our right turns always take us where we thought they would or that by making more of them things would be any better.
Is this a simplistic notion, dismissive of the randomness of life? Possibly.
Possibly, but I think the fundamental flaw, the thing that that really takes away the control that our decisions have upon our lives is the influence of others. The millions of decisions made by those around us that change our own, that ultimately have as much to do with where we end up than the ones we make ourselves.
I’ve seen good things eventually come of bad, life’s roads leading to places not imagined, wrong turns that eventually lead to different, happier destinations. We all have. I credit the driver’s persistence, their ability and will to continue, not a cosmic GPS or invisible hand guiding their wheel.
I can’t tell you why the good die young, why bad things happen to good people. I can’t tell you what decisions may have been made by them or others that may have had that unintended consequence.
But I believe that they happened.
I may have misled you at the beginning of this post, and for that I apologize. I do think that “everything happens for a reason.”
I just think that reason is us.