It’s not that reason is absent from our lives, but that we use it as a crutch for avoiding growth and look for it in all the wrong places. I get that we use the phrase to offer comfort by giving meaning to events that seem to be without any conceivable reason. But, I’ve always found it unsettling and selfish to believe that the sole purpose of life’s heartaches, failures, losses, illnesses, is to teach us some fateful lesson that we have been preordained to learn.
The idea that life’s unfairness is somehow supposed to be justified by a scripted reason, is the same sort of lazy thinking that we buy into when we accept that success is just about being at the right place at the right time?
Terrible things do not happen for reasons we can understand, or even accept. But that doesn’t mean that we are helpless. We are the ones who give meaning to what happens in our life, with or without an acceptable reason. If you are looking for the reason to somehow make itself known to you, then you are avoiding the much harder work of taking what happened to you, and to others who were impacted by it, and creating something that has value.
Make no mistake creating meaning requires more effort than accepting some unforeseen reason that you have no control over. It means moving on from being a victim, shaping despair and pain into hope, failure and loss into success. It means looking back with gratitude, and turning it into an opportunity to define a path forward, a path that you’d likely never have taken otherwise.
That’s as close to fair as the world ever gets.
Aristotle believed that everything happening to you today has a purpose because it turns you into the person you are becoming. Reason is the meaning we give to the events that happen in our life. You are not a random element in the universe, reacting mechanically to everything happening to you.
Karma. Fate. Serendipity.
It’s just a need to grasp for something steady when life pulls the rug from under our feet.
None of my recent drawings have any connection to the topic of this post, so here’s one from my niece:
Quite the artist eh?
She taught me what it’s like to have a “mini me.”
You deserve the whole world, and you can do anything you put your mind to. -grandma hoop 🖤