When life throws us a curve ball, something well outside what we could have imagined or anticipated, we all spend time searching.
The unthinkable occurs and in its aftermath, the search begins. We search for why. We search for reason.
Most of us are familiar with the phrase ‘everything happens for a reason,’ with many of us adopting this as a truism. And it makes sense, until it doesn’t.
Until we are faced with something so difficult to find reason within or to reason away.
Until something happens in our world that challenges much of what we once thought to be true.
Until adversity strikes and we are left grappling for reason.
Until, we cannot find it.
After our experiences with baby loss I desperately searched for reason armed with the belief that if I could just find it then perhaps things might make sense again. If I could only hunt out reason, it would somehow magically make it all hurt a little less.
In Your Soul is Wintering I write, ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ I used to believe this until I lost her. I can hear my past self say it with great conviction and compassion in a bid to support others in their own stormy seas, to bring them some peace or somehow make their fight to the surface less excruciating. After losing her though, I see this for what it is — pseudo comfort.
I hear it a lot and, strangely, for something that I was once so onboard with, it no longer sits comfortably. Since the earthquakes and then our baby losses, it is no longer something I say or believe.
There are some things in life that are not reconcilable, for which, irrespective of the depths to which we search, no reason can be found. I turned myself inside out trying to find reason after we lost our wee babies — why do babies die? — diving, sinking to newfound depths in the pursuit for answers, beyond the point where the light casts its promise, only to find darkness. Reason, are you there? Silence.’
Everything does not happen for a reason. For some things, reason will not be found.
Perhaps a truer version of this phrase could simply be ‘Everything happens.’
The beautiful, the ugly. The heart-breaking, the heartening. The devastating, the incredible. And everything in between.
I am not convinced we can bypass ‘the search’ for reason that ensues when adversity strikes. Desperately scrambling to make sense of our world tilting on its axis is potentially a vital and important part of the process.
However, there will come a time when this search no longer serves us. A time where we must accept that ‘everything happens’ and for some of the ‘happenings,’ we will not know why, nor find reason in this lifetime.
This is tough.
Yet, recognizing and accepting that not all of our searching will provide answers affords us the opportunity to redirect our energy and focus towards the changeable, the controllable, and therefore the powerful.
Towards what can be found.