NPR has this series called This I Believe where people write essays about things that are essential to their belief system. Some contributers are celebrities, others are lesser known. One recently was about a military memeber who believed in the power of teddy bears after seeing the way the kids reacted to them in Afganistan. So, I decided that it was time I write my own.
As controversial as this next statement is going to be... at the core of my being, I do NOT believe that things happen for a reason. I just can't. From babies with cancer to fire distroying people's homes, I cannot bring myself to think that everything happens for a reason.
I know that many find comfort in this belief, and I would never want to take that away from them, but for me it causes more fustration than comfort. In order for things to happen for a reason, there must be some higher being that brings cancer into the lives of innocent children so that something good can happen for them or someone around them. And this is simply more than I can handle.
So, how does one deal with the inexplicable randomness that is the world, if one does not believe in an inherant reason for the things that happen? It's easy, you just let go, stop looking for the hidden meaning or lesson in everything, and start taking full responsability for your life and your actions! I know it's scary to be completely in control of your own life, but the upside is... YOU'RE IN CONTROL OF YOUR OWN LIFE!
I've been though some very difficult times in my life. I have survived scars from my childhood that haunt me to this day. I survived my mom and I having to involuntarily commit my oldest brother to the hospital after a suicide attempt a WEEK before my wedding. I survived single handedly put myself through school... going to school full time and working full time which just about put me under financially. I survived a loveless, onesided, draining marriage for 4 years before deciding I had had enough. Then I survived a divorce and learned to live on my own for the first time in my life, all while 3,000 miles away from my family and with only a handful of friends near by. I survived a year long separation from the love of my life, including an 8 month Navy deployment with limited communication beyond emails.
But the key word there is, s-u-r-v-i-v-e-d! I survived it all! And not because some higher power or external being gave me the strength to do it, but because I learned to put my big girl panties on and deal with each situation as it came my way. Through it all, I learned that I am significantly stronger than I ever gave myself credit for, and that the blood of my tenacious grandmother flows through my veins. I learned that although setbacks happen, failure is not an option.
Do I envy those who have a belief in an almost superhero type devine being? Yes, sometimes. I envy a belief in a being who swoops down in times of need to pick one up or give one strength, a belief in a being who controls those things around you such that you never encounter anything that you are not given the strength to over come. But in my tough times, that being has been no were to be found. I've spent more than one occasion sobbing uncontrolably, contemplating ending it all, wondering why, after following so faithfully, I had been forsaken. Then I came to the realization, that things do NOT happen for a reason. Dropping my nose ring down the sink isn't an act by a higher power to show me something, in fact it was probably caused by my dumb butt thinking that I could take it out over the sink without dropping it. Figuring out how to unscrew the sink drain on my own wasn't a flash of devine inspiration, it was my own ingenuity and probably a combination of the thousands of home improvment shows I was forced to watch growing up.
So, bottom line, I believe that things happen at random. Myself and the support system I put in place are the only things I can depend on in tough times. As scary as that is, it's also freeing. And if nothing else, I can tell you that it has made me damn proud of my accomplishments!
So, what do you believe? Feel free to write your own "This I Believe" blog and post a link in the comments so that we can all read it. And if you'd like to hear some of the official This I Believe essays, they can be found here.
Happy snowy Monday to you all!