The other day I read a long diatribe against the concept that “everything happens for a reason.” The writer railed on about how there is no reason for bad things happening, that the entire concept of ” a reason” is a blame-the-victim attitude, and on and on.
It got under my skin a bit, because I don’t see it that way at all. As far as I am concerned, everything DOES happen for a reason.
It doesn’t mean we need to like it.
It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight it.
It doesn’t mean we can’t grieve.
It doesn’t mean it’s our “fault.”
Let me explain.
It’s like the virgin birth. Only not.
“Everything happens for reason” is a spiritual belief, in the same way that faithful believe in the virgin birth, in heaven, and other faith-related things.
“Everything happens for a reason” comes from the belief that every soul has a purpose and a plan, and that there’s a lesson in the things that happen to us. The lesson may be for us, for someone around us or even for someone we have never met.
A perfect case in point is poet and peacemaker, Mattie Stepanek, who was born with an rare, incurable and debilitating form of muscular dystrophy. By anyone’s definition, this young man was dealt a terrible hand. He died when he was only 13. And yet, in Mattie’s short life, he made a huge impact on millions of people he’d never met. A short video that illustrates the essence of his soul is HERE.
In my belief structure, which includes reincarnation, these life plans are made by souls between lives with the agreement of all concerned. Memory is wiped clean before birth so we may live out the lesson. The foundation of this belief is that there is something greater than us directing what happens at the macro-level. Our soul is expected to grow and mature from these experiences, no matter what they are, even if (and especially if) we are here to be of service to others.
We don’t have to “take responsibility” if bad things happen, we simply have to be attuned enough to recognize the lesson. Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s for us and sometimes not.
It is never OUR FAULT. Not at all.
The idea of “choice” can be…horrifying.
I do understand the…perversion…of the everything happens for a reason line of thought. When I first heard the idea that we chose our own parents, our families, I was horrified. I would NEVER choose what I got, I thought.
And then, slowly, over decades, I began to firm up my own spiritual beliefs and to understand the concept of soul plans and how they are lived out.
I’m not sure where it came from, but there seems to be some kind of belief that only good things should happen in life. That’s just not realistic. Of course, you can think of the awful things that happen as random bad luck or evil. Or you can look at them as having a greater purpose. I am well aware of how hard that is in so many cases. And yet, it is what I’ve come to believe.
So, let us not pervert the belief in a soul plan into something that includes “blame” or victimization. That’s not it at all.
Here’s how I think it works:
Instead, look around for whose soul growth might be impacted by a specific situation.
Is it the daughter caring for her dementia-stricken mother who is learning compassion and unconditional love?
Is it the son supporting his father through chemotherapy who is learning the limits to what he can control?
Is it the mother who has given all her life and now, as an invalid, is learning to take?
Where is the lesson? And who’s it for?
I welcome your thoughts, whether they agree or not. There’s potential for great discussion in the Comments and I’m hoping to see that. Thank you.