Happening For A Reason


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.


14 thoughts on “Happening For A Reason”

  1. I don’t believe everything happens for a reason and that is a phrase that irrates me, too. However, I also don’t think we ultimately control everything that happens to us through our decision making. For example, my cousin who lived a healthy lifestyles died of a rare form of cancer. I don’t believe her decisions led to this disease and early death. I am a Christian and the biblical ‘backing’ for this concept that ‘everything happens for a reason’ is taken out of context. Good food for thought!

    1. when I was writing this, people getting sick was definitely something that was on my mind, I was very cognizant of the fact that I might inadvertently offend people. I tried very hard to not come across as blaming people for bad things that happened to them. Thanks for reading Molly and for the thoughtful comment

  2. You bring up a great point. Yes, I believe the reason is us, the myriad of tiny (and huge) decisions we make day to day. One foot in front of the other, one path chosen, another abandoned–I believe these things are part of the “reason.” But, I also know control is an illusion. We make the best decisions we can, but are not always aware of all the factors that could (or should) influence us or the outcomes of events.
    We are storytellers that love coherence, concreteness, and explanations for events. We need to maintain the semblance of control–even when it’s an illusion–in order to keep making those myriad of tiny decisions every day.
    When I say, “everything happens for a reason” I’m not using magical thinking, assuming there is a conspiracy of unseen but intelligent forces guiding my way. What I mean, is, like you, I create the reason. I make up the meaning behind the events in my life, why I’m here and what I get to do to contribute. It’s not necessarily my decisions that are the “reason” but the story I tell myself about why I did what I did, and why events occur as they have. This story explains the arc of meaning in my life.
    So, I do believe everything happens for a reason, and the reason is whatever is most meaningful to me at the time.
    That’s a really long answer–but I’ve been thinking about it a lot! 🙂

    1. some great points here Angela, and thank you for the thoughtful comment. Thats the thing about all these decisions that I talk about, no matter how good our intentions might be or what control we may think we have, we’re going to make the wrong ones just as many times as the right – often without even realizing it.

  3. I am on the fence about things happening for a reason. When my father died, in my mind, there isn’t a whole universal game plan and my dad was just a stepping stone to this grand plan. But then good things happen sometimes after really bad things and they are related. It’s sometimes during those moments, I think “things hapen for a reason”. I probably make no sense here. Sorry, ignore my babbling.

  4. Love this post. I do believe in God and things happening for a reason, but I also think every single one of our decisions has an effect also. I don’t think God is actually making our decisions, if he was then Eve wouldn’t have ate that apple! #AnythingGoes

  5. I don’t believe in God, and I don’t believe in fate. I don’t believe in fairness, because the world isn’t fair, but I do believe that really shit stuff happens to everyone and good stuff happens to everyone too. Our situations and where we are influences our thresholds for what is good and what is bad.

    I do believe that out of our greatest challenges come our greatest achievements and that life deals rubbish cards to all of us, the trick is to figure out how to play those cards.

    I have had some wine and this comment is a bit vague and rambling, but whenever I ponder how my life hasn’t gone to plan, I like to remind myself that no-one’s life goes to plan and that often really great things can come about when life goes a bit off-script.

    Pen x #AnthingGoes

    1. I understood everything that you are saying Pen. To be perfectly honest I had a bit of bourbon when I wrote this one and was doing some pondering of my own

  6. When I first started reading this Jeremy I was in disagreement with you. However, as I read further, I started to agree with you more and more. Yes, things do happen for a reason but also, a big yes to the fact that that reason is us. I strongly believe that every decision we make, good or bad, small or large leads us down a different road. I am also a strong believer that as long as we are open and willing to learn from our mistakes then they aren’t really mistakes, just a decision we made, for good or for bad, that led us down a different path. Our life experiences and our decisions make us who we are and perhaps who we are meant to be. #anythinggoes

    1. I think there are probably a lot of people that disagreed with my premise, and I understand that. Hopefully most took the time to hear me out but I never claim to actually have any answers, just random thoughts that I put to paper sometimes. Thats a great point about learning from our mistakes, though I don’t know that I’d go as far as to not call them that sometimes. Thanks for reading Michelle

  7. I think it all depends on your point of view. I used to think everything happened for a reason and then I went through a long time of bad things happening and I had to change my thinking eventually because I began to think that I must be a horrendous person to deserve so much crap and it wasn’t good for me.
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.