Everything happens for a reason, a statement which is true-but so often used to attempt to offer some form of comfort or acceptance of things which have happened.
As if to say one event happened to help another manifest itself, that there is a greater good, one that perhaps we cannot see. We almost instinctively look for the silver lining, the light in the dark to rationalise and accept something which we find hard to process and deal with.
But that isn’t the reason things happen, some things will never be a reason for a greater good or to pave the way for something more wonderful to happen. Whilst everything does happen for a reason, the reason is the cause of the effect. Not to help unfold the future.
I have been guilty of thinking, ‘everything happens for a reason’ in the past- at the end of a relationship, or even just discovering I had lost my favourite pair of sunglass. I have tried to console myself with the thought that a path was being laid out for me to meet the most amazing partner, someone who would fulfil all my fairytale wishes; or having the perfect reason to buy a new pair of sunglasses which before I couldn’t justify.
And at the time it worked, somewhat. It offered a chance to look back on the reason why the relationship ended and confirmed the knowledge that I deserved better, in turn helping to accept the temporary heartache; it was for a greater good-eventually I would be so much happier. I wouldn’t end up being a modern day Ms Havisham with a dozen cats.
You just have to look on Instagram for a million motivational quotes about the universe having things in store, everything happening today is to serve the purpose for a brighter future. It’s perhaps easier to compute pain if we believe it is for the greater good, and when we know the pain will be temporary, maybe it’s easier to believe that everything does happen for a reason- to instinctively look for some form of hope and believe the universe has a predesigned agenda for us. But when you are faced with everlasting heartache, it’s impossible to believe that was the way it was supposed to be.
When my son died, there was a reason. He was starved of oxygen, his brain was damaged and not enough was done to save him. Those were the reasons. Not romantic or philosophical, not to be written in typography on a picture of a mountain and hung in a frame.
So when someone said, not too long after his death, everything happens for a reason, I wondered what reason they might possibly think it might be. Did they believe it would help to make me a stronger person? To test my resolve, my ability to pick myself up from the depths of despair; to appreciate life more and take little for granted? Did they think that it had happened because something greater was in store? If so, I can’t possibly imagine what it might have been where I had to lose my child to have it-and whatever it was, I didn’t want it. Or perhaps they just didn’t think. They didn’t think about the connotations of such a phrase.
When we are faced with the darkest of times, it feels almost instinctive to find the light, rather than allow the darkness to prevail. Allowing myself to sit in the dark times, to feel immersed in the cloud of grief, without looking for a silver lining was something I had to learn to accept it was ok to do. It is ok to have moments, days, nights, weeks where the cloud feels heavy, and they do not need to be balanced out with rays of light, or looking for the stars. The bad doesn’t happen to pave the way for the good, they will run along side each other.
Life can be so wonderful, but it can also be tragic. It will break your heart yet offer hope; it is full of contradictions and uncertainties.
But even in the moments of darkness, one thing remains- a love which is so hard to explain. I used to feel as though I needed to look for the light in the dark, to try to find the positive or some reason. But sometimes in life, there is no reason that will help to make things better, but I do believe there is love. There is wonder and there is love, and in those moments where the light fails to find me, love always does.