Six little words … a cop out or real explanation?

April 20, 2005 in It is what it is - opinion column | Comments (0)


I’m a firm believer in the when a door closes a window opens philosophy of life, but those six words sometimes drive me nuts.

All things happen for a reason.
Even the way the words feel in my mouth … All things happen for a reason … it’s a bit like putting one too many graham crackers in your mouth without having the requisite ice cold milk chaser. It’s a chewy phrase, and one that has quite a following. A straight-up Google hunt for “all things happen for a reason” leads to pages and pages and pages of … well … here’s an example:
the writer who relates two stories of close brushes with serious car accidents. He questions why tragedy was averted at the last minute. It’s a good question, because my take is that he’s just a lousy driver.
All things happen for a reason … I’m thinking that the lesson for this guy is that he needs to learn to drive. It seems, however, that he has chosen to look at this as a bigger message from a higher source. That he’s on this planet to do something big and therefore disaster has been averted so that he can fulfill his destiny.
And then there is that ridiculous woman from Georgia who sent her family into panic and an entire town into chaos because she couldn’t face up to getting married. It wasn’t bad enough that she took off and in doing so set into motion a massive manhunt, she then had to call and make up some crazy story about being kidnapped. All things happen for a reason. My take on this one? The reason is simple. This woman is an irresponsible idiot who needs to be smacked upside the head with the clue stick. After she’s been forced to pay restitution for the costs incurred, and perhaps done a little jail time.
(Amendment to this posting – dated June 2, 2005 – justice has been served in this case, though perhaps not dealt as harshly as it should have been.)
Don’t get me wrong here. I do believe that there is a grander scheme to things. I do believe that every single person on this earth has some purpose – a lesson to learn, a lesson to teach, or as is more often the case, both. It’s just that this saying “all things happen for a reason” is overused and I believe that too many people use it as a way to absolve themselves of guilt. After all, if the outcome is preordained, they’re just pawns in a oversized chess game.
That’s a load of crap.
Sure there’s a purpose for each of us, but we also got this lovely little bonus gift (better than than a Ginzu knife)when we landed into this particular existence.
It’s called free will.
It’s free will that permits us to experience any range of situations – from joyous to grief-laden – and absorb the lessons. We have a choice in how we deal with the lessons we’re given. Of cousre, life being what it is, this same free will also creates a rather gaping loophole.
Once we have absorbed the lessons it is once again free will that lets us decide whether or not we will learn from the experience, and whether or not we will move onward and upward from there.


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