For the last few years, so it seems, I have believed that everything happens for a reason, if only because there is no other way to explain it. Some may attribute it to the glory of God while others discount this belief entirely. But for me, as a solitary speck in the massive universe in which we live, this is my way of justifying the things that happen in my life.
This belief system is not without its flaws. Thinking this way may encourage the belief that you are the axel upon which the universe rotates, that everything happens to you specifically for a specific reason. Believing in such a way makes bemoaning your problems and shortcomings all the more easy, allowing for excuses to be made and certain things justified.
I, as a sociologist (har har), prefer a mixed methods system of belief to prevent becoming too egocentric (yes, this may be a jab at some of the lecturers I have observed since starting my master’s programme). Yes, I believe that everything happens for a reason in my life. But I also believe that we are all interrelated and that the things that happen to us have effects that are beyond our comprehension. The things that happen to us personally have grander and broader reaches than just our one, tiny existence.
For those of you questioning this, I’m not atrributing the minuscule details of the every day (whether you have coffee with breakfast, what shoes you wear, etc.) to fate, but am rather examining the happenings in life in a more general sense.
Without divulging too many details, I will just say that a lot has been going on in my life lately that will surely have a lasting impact on me. Somehow this belief that everything happens for a reason makes these things easier to stomach, even if they make me extremely emotional and sad at the same time.
I should note that I am not trying to justify my own actions in this way of believing. It is the things that we cannot control, the strange happenings in the universe that give way to major change, that leave me thinking this way. I have one specific example that may shed light on this otherwise vague concept, a story that many of you have probably heard before, but one that is still kind of amazing to me:
My freshman year of college, I was extremely depressed and unhappy. I became friends with people that didn’t really align themselves with the same values that I had, and I really heavily considered transferring from Loyola to another university. However, while at Loyola, I befriended someone that urged me to apply to be a Welcome Week Leader, something that I hadn’t considered and didn’t really take seriously. I half-heartedly filled out the application and submitted it a mere hour before the deadline. As it happened, I was selected and decided to accept the position. The friend that had so diligently urged me to apply ended up not even being able to commit to the position due to other responsibilities. I decided to do Welcome Week anyway, even though I literally knew nobody else.
When the time finally came, I had one of the best weeks that I have ever had in my entire life. I met people that I now consider some of my best friends, who put me in touch with other people, who in turn put me in touch with even more people, all of which have taught me so many things about life and myself that I cannot even begin to describe in one blog post.
I can’t attribute that sequence of events to anything other than fate. As with anything else in life, there are so many tangents that stem from that one event. If you really think about it, a lot of events in life are sort of like this. It’s really kind of amazing.
Life is sort of like this sometimes: things may get tough, but you learn from them. Working 50 hour weeks while also going to school full time and staying involved was certainly not a walk in the park for me, but I am better for it. The things currently happening in my life are not easy, either, especially being so far away from what is familiar. But they’re happening whether I like it or not, so I might as well embrace them and do my best to take them in stride.
It isn’t particularly fitting to try to understand things as they happen; many things in life don’t make sense until you look back on them. As the cliché goes, hindsight is 20/20. I couldn’t agree more.
I may not be a particularly religious person (which some of you may see as a good thing and others as a bad thing while I simply think of it as a thing that I am, among others), but I believe in the good of others. Good people come into your life for a reason, whether they stay forever or for a short while. There is something to be learned from our experiences, both good and bad.
All you have to do is look.