Whenever somebody says,
“Everything happens for a reason”
“God works in mysterious ways”
“It’s meant to be”
“There’s no such thing as coincidence”
Or any variation on this theme, I want to say to them:
If you mean every effect has a cause, then yes, everything does happen for a reason. But I don’t think that’s what you mean. What I think you mean is that everything that happens is on purpose; called in from the future, predetermined by a higher power with the best of intentions, for you personally. Part of an unfolding plan.
If this is what you’re saying, then that is the most egocentric thing I’ve ever heard and I hope no one ever comes to you with their problems.
It would follow from this belief in cosmic justice that you think the world is a fair place and only God or whatever knows why. No such thing as a senseless death. Bad things happening to good people, the rich getting richer while yet more and more can’t meet their basic needs through no fault of their own, everything is exactly how it should be. No sense challenging the status quo, then. World headed for [human-caused] doomsday? Why fight it? It’s meant to be.
You’d never consciously admit this of course, because you – especially you – want to be known as a benevolent person. But you sure believe it.
I’m very sorry your things didn’t go as planned due to the blind indifference of the universe, but please do not resort to kicking the unluckies while they’re down with your unsympathetic worldview.
You did not go through it to learn a lesson. You learned a lesson because you went through it. It happens. Some people don’t learn anything because they die from that tumor that you’d think was planted on purpose to teach a lesson about valuing life, if you survived yours.
Believing that this world is a fundamentally fair place is cowardly. Accepting it otherwise and still taking it on is the harder, braver thing to do. Embracing the pain and accepting the injustice as being exactly that is the only way to be truly compassionate, and to get ourselves out of this godforsaken mess with what that feeling drives us to do.
But I can’t say it, because the people I encounter these days who think like this I happen to work with, or for, and as I’ve previously written, one must pick her battles in the workplace.