Sometimes it’s hard to stick to the belief that everything happens for a reason.
I hold strong onto the idea that every thing — every minute, little thing that happens — is part of a much larger song and dance, spanning backwards and forwards in time in a way that we cannot even begin to understand. I believe in the domino effect of our actions and I believe that sometimes our most monumental, influential act will simply be something small that becomes the catalyst for a revolutionary set of events.
It’s hard to hold onto that sometimes. It’s hard to look at child soldiers in the Congo and gang rapes in India and bloodshed in Syria and go, “Yup, it’s all for a reason.”
I got a call this morning from my best friend. Our friend’s mother has been battling cancer for over a year now. There have been moments of hope, moments of desperation, moments where we swore it would all get better and moments where we were prepared to make funeral arrangements. Yesterday, the doctors told her that she had contracted pneumonia. And while the chemotherapy had failed time and time again to eradicate the cancerous cells, it had gone above and beyond in eradicating her white blood cells. She has been given days, a week at the most.
It’s something that I haven’t fully processed yet. This is the fourth friend whose mother was diagnosed with cancer in the last two years. Only one of those mothers is now in remission. Two are gone, and I fear it’s only a matter of time now before she becomes the third.
It seems really silly to compare genocide and torture with one woman’s comparatively good life ending a bit short. But I am, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. It’s the same idea behind, “It’s sad when a village of people dies. It’s tragedy when my pet dies.” This affects me personally, and therefore makes it 1000 times worse – and 1000 times harder to maintain that there is a purpose for all of this.
The roughest part in believing that it all happens for a reason is accepting the idea that our most important moments might have a smaller purpose than we can fathom. That the ripples that sent us overboard are so tiny in the great scheme of things that it almost doesn’t matter if they eventually weave their way around and into everyone else’s. What if this death’s only purpose is to shape one person’s particular way of acting, so that they act in a different way around another person, who goes off and does this or that thing, and so on, and so forth, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
What is more frightening: that it has no meaning or that the meaning is so small that it’s tougher to process than nothing at all?
If all of this is a complex song and dance, then are entire lives are nothing more than one single do-si-do, over before it starts, and all the pain and suffering — all the joy and happiness, every ridiculous little experience — is nothing more than a quick spin of the feet and a passing off of one partner to the next. It’s easier to believe that there was no dance to begin with than to believe the steps that affected us the most might have only the tiniest effect on the rest of the dance floor.
It’s been snowing heavily this morning. The birds from the forest have been dancing around my backyard, pecking through the snow for whatever food they can find. Morning doves and cardinals and sparrows and finches. They all look so beautiful as they desperately search for food against the white backdrop. Many of them won’t survive the winter. A few of them probably won’t even survive the storm. And the others birds won’t be burdened with wondering why — if there is a why — they struggle so hard for survival, or are around when the others are not.