That’s what “they” start telling us from a very young age when events take an unexpected, and often unpleasant, turn. “They” being our parents, our teachers, our siblings, our mentors, our church youth leaders, even our peers: Everything happens for a reason. You’ll understand eventually. It will all make sense some day. There’s a reason behind your struggles.
I have never found comfort in this sentiment. I’m an impatient person, therefore waiting for a reason to appear was never sufficient. I needed an answer now. I needed understanding in the moment I was struggling. That was the only way I felt I could truly move forward from a difficult period. I couldn’t wait for hope, it needed to be there the second the trials began.
I wish I could say I have grown to believe everything happens for a reason.
But I haven’t.
I truly think sometimes really awful, terrible things happen for no reason at all. I think simple day-to-day struggles can occur randomly and that not absolutely everything comes to a grand “ah-ha!” conclusion. Some things will never make sense. Some events in our lives will never provide us with a comforting reason no matter how long we ponder or yearn to understand them. This is life. It is a futile effort trying to understand why.
To find comfort in trying moments, I am learning to accept and appreciate. Life is not supposed to be easy every step of the way. On the contrary, people have written entire novels devoted to the opposite. Life is trying. It is a struggle. It can be very unsettling, and hard, and frustrating. It can be all of these things with absolutely no reason at all.
But that doesn’t mean we should despair and wallow in misery (as I have tendency to do when I’m feeling particularly bummed), but accept that this is inevitable. Accept and appreciate what is going right. There may not be a reason for the bad, but oh there is still so much good. There is kindness to be found in strangers when your vehicle breaks down. There is the support of a family when work with a client goes terribly sour. There is a warm home, tasty treats, and a hand to hold when the weather goes awry. There is the comfort of a friend’s home when your home floods or loses power. There is food on the table, even when there is no money to do much else.
It’s okay to stop trying to understand. To stop retracing your steps and wondering why you deserve this or what you can learn from it. It’s okay to accept that life is terribly hard, and beautifully good. Both of which without any reason.
Life just is.
“Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”
– Ralph Marston