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Time is the key. Thursday July 6, 2017

"Everything happens for a reason." Does it? I noted someone mentioning that in a response a few weeks ago, it prickled my skin and then a week or so ago the thought for the day on the bottom of the email was "Someday, everything will make perfect sense so for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason."

I riled, if everything happens for a reason why did my father in law and then dad die in such horrible ways, why did the recent terrorist attacks and fire devastate our country?

My current view is that there is no reason, things just happen, there are no fates pulling the strings to lead us upon a predestined path. We have to deal with life as it unfolds and there is no reason behind it or ahead.

I have previously thought that when folks used that expression it indicated that although something awful had happened something good would come of it. I suppose that the recent outpouring of love and kindness is a result of the attacks and fire. Does that justify the events? Not at all, but at least there is some positive in the aftermath from a distance. I can't imagine though that the families who lost their loved ones will feel much comfort or understand the reason.

I certainly don't get that there can be a positive reason going forward from my dad's suffering, it was an awful 3 months and a similarly awful death.

After a bit of time I realise that the reason may pertain to the past rather than the future, both my dad and my father in law might have died because of choices they made or health status. The terrorists acted because of their beliefs. The fire... well... Are those the reasons? Maybe? I don't like it but I accept this past reasoning much more than my former understanding of an implied future.

I am pleased to have spent the time thinking through these various possibilities, I still hold with my view, but maybe I understand other views a little more?

Have you come to appreciate something differently with a little time? What do you think of reasons?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Molly Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 5:03am

Hi Eva, I hope it wasn't me that said 'everything happens for a reason' as it is the sort of thing I would say! I feel though that this quote is said in general terms of coping with emotions and every day experiences/relationships etc - rather than attaching it to tragedies or unwell people. Of course there is no sense to be made out of those. Although you have tried to make sense out of them, which is admirable. For the first time ever I went to a spiritualist church last night. This was rather enlightening for me. I am sceptical but I found it so interesting and I came away feeling relaxed. I guess every road we go down is a learning curve, to which we then start to appreciate more. There isn't always a reason, but I believe time does often hold the key for inner peace. Love Molly xx

Eva Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 7:49am

Hi Molly, don't worry, you did say it, but it wasn't your saying it that created the initial spark. It was said to me a lot in the wake of my dad's death, intended as a balm I think, but I felt it as a sharp slap everytime, and so it has become entwined with the grief response. This is why I decided to investigate and think it through. And now I don't spike so much when I hear it. I'm glad you got something from your church visit, will you go again? Time is awesome :) how profound. ;)

Molly Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 7:17pm

Hi again Eva. Ooop I'm guilty then ! I totally understand what you are saying. The quote has helped me with some things in life, but cruel tragedies and deaths, we will always question and wish for answers and find no reason. We cannot control it though so I guess acceptance is then the best way forward, when we are ready, which is where the 'time' things comes in. Another cliche of course but I do believe time does help to heal the pain. I will be going back to the church yes, providing I am able, anything that helps a little has to be worth it. You really got me thinking with your blog and comment. Thank you. M xx

David Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 6:28am

Every event has a reason it is controlling the risks for a good outcome.

Eva Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 5:08pm

I need to think about this and digest...

Molly Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 7:31pm

David, I have read this ten times, could you explain further?

Sally Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 8:31am

I don't think everything happens for a reason, but I think the result of something unfortunate happening can alter the course of one's life in a positive way in the long run. It often strengthens us.
Our experience of living with disability in the family has dictated our path,but allowed us to learn and grow and empathise more. It has taught us tolerance , as well as the virtue of a joke, from whatever quarter!

Eva Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 5:12pm

Hi Sally I'm glad you have gotten some wisdom and resources from your adversity. It's good to hear of some examples.

LH Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 8:46am

Hi Eva, thanks for your interesting blog.
I think that many people say everything happens for a reason because they truly want to believe that, rather than believing in the chaos and randomness of events.
I used to be religious and people could often be quite amazing in thinking that God had helped them find a parking space whilst failing to sort out the genocide in Rwanda!!
I agree with your retrospective reasoning of reason.
Take care x

Eva Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 4:59pm

Thanks LH, my sentiments exactly.

Sal Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 9:36am

Thanks Eva :) Your blog brings to mind several other sayings that I have come across, when people have been trying to promote a particular view of life, and especially, the part that I have played in creating my own life, or my own experience of it. Kind of irritating ones, I mean!

e.g. "The outer reflects the inner" ; "When absolutely everything is taken into account, everyone has always done the very best that they could, and is deserving of kindness. This, especially, is true of you" ; "We cannot choose our circumstances, we can only choose our response to those circumstances."

I struggle sometimes to find these acceptable, or even kind. And at the same time, I sense that there may be a grain of truth in each of them.

I do, though, connect with a Buddhist teaching, if I understand it correctly, that whilst sadness and pain is an unavoidable part of everyone's life, gritting our teeth and resisting it makes it worse, while softening around it and accepting it makes it more bearable.
Does this make any sense? Is it nelpful? ... (I often struggle to know.)

Sal xx

Eva Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 4:58pm

Hi Sal, I think managing to soften is usually always a good way to respond if you can manage it. I agree I think sometimes these sayings arnt really meant deeply, maybe they just fill a gap. Then those of us who analyse can't make true sense of the meaning because it doesn't really fit the situation. Now that I come to really think of it the folks that used the 'reason' comment to me in the days after my dad's death really were a bit insensitive, as Molly says it might be used in a lesser circumstance but after serious trauma it's not really apposite. My mum and a few others kept saying after he had gone that it was 'good' that he was gone, she meant that it was good his suffering was over, but that's not what they said. Really annoyed me.

Molly Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 7:54pm

This reminds me a bit of Mary's recent post, about words that hurt. Although I realise it was on different lines. I think in tragic circumstances, people actually don't know what to say, some will choose to say nothing for fear of saying the wrong thing, then some go and say the wrong thing. I am sure many of us have thought 'oh gosh I shouldn't have said that'. Like you though, I will dwell on the one or two negative comments (that we can carry with us for years) but today I think we should let them fly away into the sky for our own sanity. Hope you are ok xx

Tychi's Mum Fri, Jul 7th 2017 @ 7:55am

Hi Eva, I don't know if you'll get this message given that i'm responding a day late. I too, have been struggling with the loss of my beloved Dad. It will be three years next week. I had a bit of a Eureka moment the other day. I thought to myself, instead of missing him and reliving the trauma of the his illness and death, why not just be really grateful and appreciative of the fact that I have had the joy of having somebody that wonderful in my life for 36 years. it might sound too simplistic to you, but for me it's been a big breakthrough.

Eva Sat, Jul 8th 2017 @ 1:11am

Hi TM, I'm so glad to hear that you have had this breakthrough it really must be a huge help. My situation is slightly complex as although I loved/worshiped my dad he was quite neglectful of my brother & I after my mum split from him, we were slightly estranged for years with a lot of animosity, I started to try to rebuild our relationship through my 20s and 30s but it never really worked until a few years ago, whereupon we were starting to relate and make headway and then he died. So although I'm very pleased he was in my life, I regret the time where I wasn't important enough to pay attention to, and I did feel truly robbed at the end. I'm Slowly coming to terms with my past and it's hurting less, I have been in bereavement counselling for over a year now its really made a huge difference to my grief process. I think though that there are aspects of his illness and death that will always be with me, in terms of his state and also what went on around us at the time. I am sensitive and empathetic and my mum is thick skinned and thoughtless, she said some things in his presence which I can never forgive, although I am now fine being with her again (because I have to be). I can accept these traumas now and put them in the past, but they still have a weight to them which I carry although the load is now easier to hold.

Molly Sun, Jul 9th 2017 @ 6:58pm

Hi Eva, I think bereavement can be worse sometimes when the relationship has been difficult. There are too many mixed emotions involved. My dad left my mum when I was just eight and he did see us when we were children but he doesn't bother with us now, he just calls me once a week and for that I am to be grateful. I am already prepared about how difficult it will be when he dies. Luckily my mum is not bitter about it anymore but being sensitive and empathetic like you, I know I will struggle much more than my sister, my half brother, and indeed my dad's partner, they are all much 'harder' than me. I am glad that the load is easier to hold for you now. Molly xx

The Gardener Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 12:29pm

The saying 'just deserts' can be taken as you wish. Religious teachings that 'God has his reasons' provoke bitter mirth, the guilty go unpunished and the 'meek' who I see as never had anything and will never have anything struggle. When I have time I MUST look into Buddhist teaching, it seems to have a lot to offer. I feel hard done by because all my youth my father shouted and my mother sobbed - now Mr G shouts and I either sob (cuts no ice) or shout back. My mother was one of nine sisters - one of them had a stroke and lived a near vegetable - Mummy reckoned she should not have had it because 'she'd worked so hard all her life'. Illogical. At my age, and spending so much time around hospitals, all charity has left me when I watch obese people or heaving smokers - they must know what is in store for them - and they DO get their 'just deserts'. Having moved to a country whose religion is mainly catholic I did think of changing, thinking there might be more comfort that in our C of E, which seems to be pre-occupied with internecine battles - but the Catholic church is far from 'squeaky clean' and in our parish they've not heard of the word 'pastoral'. Having spend time in very poor countries, with high birth rates if they are Catholic, I have been put off forever from that religion because I could not accept no birth control. Eva's argument really prevails - the Catholic 'apologia' is that no matter what awful things happen to kids - peru, Phillipines, whatever, where you are born to live on the street, forage on rubbish heaps for a living and die young having never known happiness because 'their reward will be in heaven'. Eva, I'm so sorry you had to go through the agonising death of your father. My m-in-law lived to over 100, my ma just under. People would say 'isn't it marvellous'. It was not, the last 5 years for each was pretty awful, but not agonising. Mr G will be 87 on Monday, physically fit but descending to what must be a vegetative state. What or who is going to give me the charity and strength for what is to come. Furious activity is the answer at the moment - can't rely on it! But if I have to move back to the old house I've already designed a 'Zimmer frame' garden. Thanks Eva for 'opening up' sorry to go on - the blog touched so many chords. xx

Eva Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 5:02pm

Thanks Gardener, you have so much life experience, it's good to hear about them and your perspective. I hope your zimmer frame garden will be a place of peace and tranquillity for you.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 1:59pm

good subject. i suspect all things dont happen for a reason, the world doesnt care, it just exists and things happen good and bad. we have to try and make sense of it. we became conscious and the complexity of the world is overwhelming. if i go for a job interview and dont get it, i dont mind a friend saying, 'oh well it wasnt meant to be', or maybe 'everything happens for a reason'. it will hopefully help me move on and give me time to make my own sense of it. like you say also, some things do happen for a reason, i bummed around when i was younger when i should have been carving out a career, now i find myself struggling to get a new job. time has helped me see this and i've started to make amends by getting some qualifications. we need the comfort of some idioms and wisdom to see that life sometimes just is

Eva Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 5:03pm

That's fair, i hope you are now well on your way to the vocation that you'd like.

Wyvern Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 3:13pm

Quite a difficult one to make sense of, people have such differing views. I suppose that's the point, if you believe there's a reason, then for you there is one.
I subscribe to the "sh** happens" school of thought where the important thing is what do I do about it. Sometimes there's nothing I can really do, it's out of my control; other times there are things that I might do, and so I must decide on what if anything seems the right thing to do in all the circumstances as I see them at the time.
The serenity prayer comes to mind, whereby I desire to find the serenity to accept what I can't change, the courage to change the things I can and ought to change, and wisdom to know the difference. Possibly wisdom is most important!

Eva Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 5:06pm

Yeah, the wisdom to not snap back my mental response and take the time to think first, I'm not sure that it was wisdom that gave me that time or fatigue, I have been very placid while fatigued, it's most unlike me ;) but maybe that's a good thing.

Molly Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 8:07pm

I think it is a good thing, plenty of time to rest and digest. I also think it is good to speak out your thoughts, to help make sense of them. In difficult times we can feel so muddled up xx

Eva Thu, Jul 6th 2017 @ 5:08pm

Thanks very much peeps for responding, this wasn't an easy cozy blog, I appreciate your thoughts, it all adds up.

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