Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Everything Happens For a Reason

I began writing this entry at a bar on a Friday night, while dinner guests were arriving at my home. I was in the midst of waiting one hour for the next train after my usual 5:12 pulled out one minute early. People say that everything happens for a reason.

I hate that phrase. It strikes me as vague and detached; so amorphous as to be meaningless. The insight of the statement rivals that of observing that "the sun rose again this morning". I recognize that folks mean well when they say it, especially in the absence of anything better. When life seems out to get you and you are getting less than you deserve – it may help to blunt the non-sense of it all. But it sounds passive to me - implying that we should not get angry about or respond to any turn of events, because there is some beyond-us good reason for it.

But that's just it…the important thing is the reason. When it comes to explaining God's will (cosmic forces, fate, or whatever you choose to call it) we can't end up anywhere but short. Our little minds and our limited vantage points can't possibly know the reason why personal tragedies (to pick extreme occurrences) happen. So, the overused cliché attempts to explain away our lack of understanding with ambiguity. Though we may lack the vision to perceive why it's happened, it is solely up to us as to what we make of each day on which the sun has risen. Our free choice can fill the vacuum; we create the reason…or not.
Given that "everything happens for a reason", then there must be a reason that I am still here. My spiritually gifted friend Eric suggested that it was not my time (to go) yet, because God still has a plan for me. That thought made me simultaneously swell with self-importance and cower slightly at the awesome responsibility of it all. Maybe the reason is "merely" Ana and Noah. Though there are too many instances of parents ragically ripped from their families - or (worse) kids taken away from their parents.

My challenge is to identify that reason. I haven't been able to completely discern that yet. I am feeling my way towards it – like looking for that light switch in the dark. Any help, whether human or divine, would be much appreciated. I (only half-) joke about God sending a huge neon arrow to point the way for me.
All I feel I can do sometimes is to put myself in the best position to find out. That, in turn, requires that I get out of my comfort zone. The familiar can anesthetize us to the wondrous potential in life and in people. There is no denying that, like the rising sun, the reasons are right in front of us every day.

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