For years, I have thought about this phrase – Everything happens for a reason. It bothered me until I came to understand it differently. This morning, I decided I needed to write about this phrase but with a new spin.
Everything happens for a reason. It is true. However, not every reason is cosmic, grand scale, or intentional. Humans develop diseases sometimes because of things they do, but also because our bodies are not perfect. We have natural disasters because our planet exists within an atmosphere full of patterns and anomalies and changes. These things happen for a reason, and science can help us to understand the reasons.
Things happen for a reason and whether those are cosmic or earthly reasons, I believe what is important is what we choose to learn from those events. This is a different mindset from what they were meant to teach us. Instead, the person in or observing the event can make a conscious effort to learn from it.
Many of our lives are turned upside down right now. For most people on Earth today, the COVID-19 pandemic is a new experience. I want to learn something from this experience. I want to learn how the virus works, where it is spreading, how it is spreading, where is it under control, how, etc. Though I have eased up some, I was scouring the internet early on to learn as much as I could about this event. It was almost all-consuming. What I learned, though, is that I am fairly powerless against this virus. Other than wearing a mask, washing my hands, and social distancing, there is not much I can do to combat the disease. This, however, is not where my learning stops.
In recent months, we have moved past the shock of this pandemic. I am past learning about the virus. Instead, we are all learning how to live again. We are learning how to be neighborly from a distance, we are learning how to protect ourselves and our community, we are learning how to function for others rather than just for ourselves. I cannot do the things I used to do in the same way. Rather than continue to be upset about this, though, I am learning to find joy and love in the new ways of living. I see more people walking their dogs around our neighborhood. My children have written words of encouragement on the street for those that pass us. We had a distance dance party in my in-laws driveway – just us dancing while they danced at the other end of the driveway, everyone in masks, music turned up, neighbors looking puzzled. We choose not to travel much, and skipped our annual summer vacation. Instead, we are hiking, fishing (catch and release), and enjoying time together outside.
What can we learn from this pandemic? We can learn all the science we want. 🙂 We can also learn how to live again, how to take care of our neighbors, how to be citizens in a society. We can choose actions that support and protect one another and learn how good that feels. We can also teach our students and our children to do the same.
*Side note: I also believe some events in our lives happen for a reason beyond the science. There are unexplainable events, maybe even miracles, that happen on purpose for us. I just don’t believe every event is that way. Why? Because I believe humans have free will and if everything that happens is a purposeful event created by God, then free-will cannot be real. That does not line up for me.