Everything Happens For A Reason

About the Author

author photo

Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

See All Posts by This Author

Everything Happens For A Reason

feature photo

Have you ever heard anyone say, “Everything happens for a reason?”  I have.  And I just shake my head in wonder.  It seems that people need some assurance that someone or something is in control – if not themselves.  What do you suppose was the ‘reason’ for the shooting of Representative Giffords?  I surely do not know.

Several years past a colleague had a newborn daughter – born with cerebral palsy.  The pregnancy was not planned.  This couple was a classic example of the 1980’s Yuppies.  They were professional people, worked hard, partied hard, and were proud of their material wealth.  I heard people around the office say, “Everything happens for a reason.”  Then they began their reasoning.  “God is teaching this couple about compassion for the less fortunate,” was one refrain.  Or how about this, “The local United Cerebral Palsy organization needs professional people to participate in their organization.  God has sent this Yuppie couple to UCP to better benefit mankind.”

Another friend was once driving down the street, slowed to check the movie marque at the local theater, and saw at the next intersection another car run a stop sign.  Her conclusion, “God slowed me down to prevent someone else from crashing in to me.”

I am a walker.  As a senior citizen it is incumbent on me to take care of myself.  Recently I discovered my High School Vice Principle lived on my walking route.  He and his wife are eighty-four.  They were working in their yard and I stopped to renew our acquaintance.   We had some good laughs about the days when he used to give me after school detention.  My adolescent deeds warranted at least a three-day-suspension – but the good man saw hope in me and restricted me to in-school detention.  Had he given me the out-of-school suspension – well – I imagine that I would have used the idle time for much greater mischief.  Was he put in my life for a reason?

The Vice Principle and I have talked many times since.  When I am out walking and he is working in his yard I always stop and we visit.  A few days past I was walking on a very hot day and the VP was sitting in an old webbed lawn chair, held together by duct tape, in front of his garage.  He was enjoying the early morning shade.  As usual, I stopped to visit.  We talk about the current state of education in America compared to when I was in high school.  We talk about gardening and yard work.  We talk about family.  It seems we have become intimate friends this past several months.  A month past he told me his fifty-five year old son died two years ago from a brain aneurysm.  Was there purpose in this death of a middle-aged man?  Yesterday found us talking again, he in his lawn chair and me stretching after my walk.   He told me, with quivering lips, that his wife suffers from dementia.  I said, “Do you mean Alzheimer?”  He shook his head and said, “I just call it dementia.”  He told me they had done brain scans and the dementia was confirmed as a brain degeneration.  I asked if she was in good health otherwise.  “Yes, there is longevity in her family.”  I ventured to ask if he worried that he might pass first, leaving her to her own devices?  “Yes,” again with quivering lips, “I go to the doctor anytime any small thing troubles me.  I have to stay alive to take care of her.”  We could logically say that if we long enough we will physically and mentally deteriorate – but this does not satisfy our need for spiritual guidance.

The VP and his wife are active members of a local United Methodist Church.  I don’t know what the Methodist Church teaches about God’s Purpose in our lives.  Every Church has their own definition, their own understanding of God, their own understanding of God’s purposeful intervention in our lives.  Some believe in predestination.  Some believe in the power to influence God’s Wisdom by sincere prayer.  Some believe that some of us are protected because God has a bigger purpose in our future – we are supposed to do something down the road to justify our present protection from death and destruction.  Some of us self-destruct with addiction or other obsessive, compulsive, or impulsive behaviors.  Some believe we have been led down that path because God wanted us to learn something specific so that we might help others.  Might we suppose that the VP and his wife have been burdened with dementia in their home that they might learn something more about faith?  Perhaps her dementia is caused by God to teach other younger couples in their church about compassion for the elderly. Or perhaps the entire life of the Vice Principle was designed to teach me something.  I know people who put themselves at the center of the universe, people who believe every happening is for their benefit.

Does everything happen for a reason?  Clearly, in my own life, I have learned and become a better person as the result of the trials of my life.  Some of my trials were of my own making – some happened without any help from my own lunacy.  I have learned forgiveness from some trials.  I have learned the harm of bitter resentment from others.  Was the purpose of my life trials designed for my spiritual improvement as a human?  There were times in my life when I liked God just fine – but I thought he did not like me in return.  I often asked, “Why me?”  Others tried to comfort me by saying, “Everything happens for a reason.  God works in mysterious ways.  That which does not kill us only makes us stronger.”

How about this one:  “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Tell that to the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.  What is the difference between a pizza and a Jew?  The pizza does not scream when you put it in the oven.  Was the purpose of the Holocaust to improve our sense of humor?

People like to know why.  What causes heart disease and why does one brother get it and another does not.?  Why is one addicted to nicotine and another is not?  What cause diabetes, and why me or why my brother?  When the plane crashes and half the people die and the other half survive – we ask why?  Why?  Because God has a purpose?  Because everything happens for a reason?  Because God works in mysterious ways?  Is God trying to teach the families of the dead something about suffering?  Does God have a greater purpose for the survivors?  If God had a greater purpose for the survivors then does that mean he had no purpose for the dead?  No – they died to serve their purpose of teaching others about suffering? The reasoning of the human mind is predictable nonsense.

My grandson’s friend died in an accident last summer.  My grandson asked me why.  My answer was that they were riding on a motorcycle on the highway and ran head-on into a truck.  The driver of the truck was drunk and crossed the center line.  The laws of physics dictated the outcome.  Everything does happen for a reason – but not necessarily a spiritual reason.  We live according to defined laws of our universe.  When we break those laws then there are predictable outcomes.

As I talked with my grandson I realized his concern.  Children like to think of the world as being orderly.  They prefer certainty to the randomness of perceived chaos.  Actually – many adults prefer predictable outcomes.  When chaos strikes we understand the physics – but we find ourselves searching for spiritual meaning.

Help me out folks – does everything happen for a reason?

There Are 6 Responses So Far. »

  1. Cause and Effect. This is the simple reality of all things even within Christianity, Buddhism, Catholicism et al. Christianity for instance preaches there is no such thing as predestination and we all have God given free will. If that is fact, then really there is no foundation to the fact that God made sure the store was out of peppers so I don’t get heartburn.

    I’m a God fearing man and am slowing making my way through the bible, but I am also a thinker. Most folks want to feel loved, appreciated, and empathized and many times we create our own level of comforting. Did God slow me down, no I was just lolly gagging looking at the store.

    Now being follower of Christ I would like to believe in the power of prayer and even if the only affect is to trick my mind to heal my body. But in the end I say no, things just happen.

  2. Some Christian denominations believe in predestination. I think that was a major theological point of John Calvin – who founded the Presbyterian Church. The idea come from the notion that God knows when one is conceived whether that soul will go to heaven. No decisions we make can change the outcome.

    This theological debate gets to the heart of ‘free will.’

    Cause and Effect: If you drive a car 100 mph into a brick wall you will probably die. Simple physics. There are universal physical and chemical laws. We humans have been given the capacity to recognize and understand the laws of the universe. Where did we get that capacity? If we say we received our blessing from God then we might imagine that God expects us to use that same intellect. My notion is simple: Improving our brain is a spiritual endeavor – not wasting the resources God gave us.

    In that vein, when we deny science (like Global Warming) we are denying the very thing that God gave us to set us apart from the rest of nature.

  3. Dear Mr. Ohg
    Everything indeed does happen for a reason.

    The Event :
    2 months ago, my motorcycle front wheel went into a seam in the road, and I lost control at 80mph and went down on our busiest highway in morning on the way to work traffic

    The Buildup to the Event :
    2 years ago, a colleague started insisting I go surfing with him, and get into skateboarding and on and on. What makes this special, is I’m just about the last body in the office you would look at and say : Aahhh, sporty!
    Yet I did. I’m a firm believer, and enjoyed all the normal teenage activities of skateboarding though I’m old enough to be the mother of teenagers.

    The miracles after the event :
    My brain realized I’m going down, and took me away. I felt nothing.
    My instincts and 2 years of skating & surfing made my instincts think : Yea Baby! A huge motorcycle shaped skateboard!
    By the time I was almost ending the 40yard slide, and came back to consciousness, I realized I was entirely on top of the bike, holding on and surfing the sliding bike :)

    I am more alive, and more happy. The violent shaking and hit on the head from coming down, has knocked all my worries and troubles out of my head, and only left room for happiness to remain. It’s 2.5 months now, and the concussion is wearing down, I shall miss it.

    Due to the accident and concussion, I am a more loving and caring spouse, a far better friend, and a far more enjoyable colleague.

    I hope life treats you like Royalty,
    Ann

    P.S. I LOVE this sentence : We live according to defined laws of our universe. When we break those laws then there are predictable outcomes.

  4. Ann,

    As I read your comment I found myself going from a sick feeling in my stomach to relief that you are well. You must have had quite a concussion to require more than two months of recovery.

    Your account of the motorcycle event brings to mind the old adage: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Your glass is half full and that is a character trait that I have come to admire and respect in you.

    But back to the point of the post: Are you saying that God directed you to learn surfing so you might survive an inevitable motorcycle accident? Or are you saying that sometimes tragedy or trauma in our lives is reason to learn and grow as a spiritual being? And this, was the accident an act of God, designed for your spiritual growth?

    You are a continual inspiration, a reason to believe in the ultimate goodness of humanity. Was our meeting each other an act of God – intended to somehow teach each of us something?

    Ohg

  5. Dear Mr. Ohg

    I actually believe that we re-incarnate, and choose our parents and main life circumstance ahead of time, yes , including such things as inevitable accidents which we choose to experience for our soul growth.

    Also in that, is God who is everything and in everything. Each of us are a piece of God as our planet is a part of the milky way, which is part of a solar system, and you see how the ripples of pieces fitting as puzzles into larger pieces expands.

    That said, yes, the skateboarding was God preparing me to be ready when the time came in case I would then choose life or not. If this accident happened 4 years ago, with or without skateboarding, I cannot say that the outcome would have been this great. But life is good to me, always has been when I heed the call and listen when my soul says “It is time to go.” When I go, God provides and everything is good. When I stay out of fear of the unknown, the blessings are absent… in this context, Going is simply the need to make a needed change in my life, and usually the nudging gets stronger when I know its coming and I start fussing and trying to change everything except the thing that needs changing :)

    So by my current belief system that would mean that I myself chose to have this accident as part of the package of living in this body with this brain and these talents and desires. I could leave earth at that time if I had had enough, or I could stay and have more excellent experiences, up to me, up to God, and thanks to me listening to Go and learn skateboarding.

    I have no idea anymore how we met, all I know at this time is that you have been there steady as a rock in my life for a while now, reminding me that the USA is made up of some realy good folk, even if they are not close by. And in reading your stories I learned a Lot about kindness to al we meet.

    May we all know to Go when God says Go Abraham, and once you have gone I will show you where to go.

    Ann

  6. Ann,

    I admire your optimism, your quest for the good life, your ability to articulate your thoughts, and I treasure our friendship.

    Ohg

Post a Response