I used to live by the mantra, “Everything happens for a reason”. I would say it to myself and to my friends. I had a cute bracelet I wore daily with those words stamped into the leather. I truly believed it. Things happened for a reason, good or bad. We just had to wait to figure out the reason sometimes.
I realize now that the manta worked for me as a young woman who knew nothing about true devastation or heartache. It’s easy to say there’s a reason for everything when you haven’t had something go terribly wrong.
As an adult, I’ve seen friends and family members suffer through cancer, miscarriage, and depression. How can I honestly look anyone in the eye and tell them that there is a reason for their grief? Maybe there is, but maybe there isn’t. Either way, it’s not up to me to decide. My role is to simply be there; to listen, give encouragement, and offer support in any way I can.
Life is full of surprises – some of them good and some of them bad. Joy, sorrow, pain, death, new life, and grief are all part of our human experience. We don’t need to overthink these feelings and try to figure out why they’re happening. We need to become better at actually feeling them and working on getting through them.
And if someone we love is experiencing grief, we need to be better at listening, not speaking.
Let’s remember that nothing in life is guaranteed. This gives us a sense of appreciation, never taking love, children, family, or even a sunset for granted. It also allows us the opportunity to accept the bad times and work through them, allowing others to support us. And when someone lovingly tells you that everything happens for a reason, you don’t need to get upset. Take the statement for what it is…a gesture of good intention.
Good and bad things happen to good and bad people. There’s no mathematical equation to figure out if and when something bad will happen to you, so don’t try. And don’t worry about it. The key point I’m trying to make is that you need to accept both. Never take the people and things you love for granted and always lean on the ones you love during grief.
Everyone struggles. It’s how we react in these situations that defines who we are.
A better manta for me now is, “When you’re going through hell….keep going.”