Sometimes a tree just falls

Everything happens for a reason.

That phrase gets tossed around a lot. A tree falls on your house. “Everything happens for a reason.” You don’t get the job you want. “Everything happens for a reason.” Your favorite flavor of ice cream isn’t in today. “Everything happens for a reason.” A guy you really cared about no longer cares about you. “Everything happens for a reason.”

I used to believe that most things happened for a reason, but sometime between last year and this year I stopped believing. Or rather I, sort of, stopped believing. I didn’t have an epiphany. There wasn’t even an insightful moment. Someone said to me, after something in my life didn’t go the way I hoped it would, “everything happens for a reason” and I thought, Nah.

A lot of us hold onto ‘everything happens for a reason’. It’s what gets us through. What if some things just happen? No deeper meaning. No silver lining. No real answers. This is life. We pick up the pieces. We make our choices. We work it out.

Is that depressing or liberating?

I’m not clouded with cynicism here. Truly. It’s that grand sweeping statements with the word everything in them don’t really work for me. I have compromised and I am a ‘sometimes things happen for a reason’ person.

Sometimes a tree falls on your house and it is simply a pain in the ass. Sometimes you don’t get a job and that’s that. Sometimes you go after a job you think will be perfect that does more than pay the bills and it’s given to someone who is slightly more qualified than you. You go back to pursuing the job that doesn’t pay very well but gives you great satisfaction. Sometimes your favorite flavor of ice cream just isn’t there that day. The reason? It’s time to try a new flavor. That guy you really cared about? He might still be a great guy or he’s a big tool – who knows? But, it’s not working.

To say that everything happens for a reason implies that it is entirely left up to chance, to fate, to God. Don’t we have some responsibility in the course our lives take? Before you think I’m taking all the fun and magic out of life I do believe in the miraculous and impossible. However, sometimes there is no explanation and we move on. Sometimes we’re given the answer, but more often than not we are searching for the hidden and deeper meaning to life and all of the questions life brings.

I think we find the reason. We come up with the whys and the hows and the whats. We choose how we’re going to respond to something that didn’t go our way.

The world might not bring the reason to us, but we can bring reason to it. We can make life matter. We give our circumstances substance. We can choose to make something a priority and rife with meaning. Other things we can chalk up to a learning experience or a blip and let it go.

Does everything happen for a reason? I think, like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder. It’s what you make of it.

Swept Up

In friends

This group (our group) goes to the pumpkin patch every year. We started this tradition when our first babies (who are born in the same year) were just babies. We have had more kids since and none of us plan on having more. We hope. We love our kids but we’re good.

So, we do this every October. We walk around, look at the very large cow (it is a beast!), walk through the smelly barn, eat popcorn, mock the ladies that are wearing heels, the kids go into the turkey and goat pen. I send my kids in with their dad and any other willing parents because giant birds roaming free like that scare the bejeesus out of me. We finish it with a hay ride that takes us to the pumpkins. Everyone looks for the perfect pumpkin. Muddy and wet we find our pumpkins, pay too much money for them and go home.

Well, this time that didn’t happen. We went to the pumpkin patch and so did hundreds of other families or what seemed like hundreds of other families. One of us did not want to stand in that long line. Another thought we would never get on that hay ride. It is a domino effect. One person says no. The next person agrees and we keep dropping off one at a time. That’s what is great about this group. It’s one for all and all for one.

We decided to go to the park instead. It’s free after all. We took the obligatory photos before we left. You can’t be around that many pumpkins and a covered wagon and not take photos.

Here are our kids (my girl, Annie, is the one with the ponytail and brown jacket)

My boy, Benjamin, is missing from these photos. He stayed home with Scott today doing a backyardigans marathon. He is sick. Not to leave him out here are photos of him scooping out the innards of a pumpkin the other day and on the first day of preschool.

10 thoughts on “Sometimes a tree just falls

  1. Kate Coveny Hood

    Regarding “Sometimes a tree just falls” – this describes my thoughts exactly! Well – maybe not exactly – because I do think that SOME things happen for a reason. Just not all things.

    But at the end of the day – you have to find a way to deal with disappointments and tragedy. And sometimes, you find meaning along the way. You can never say, I’m so glad that wonderful man broke up with me, but you can say that it was for the best because you ultimately found someone much better suited to you. I’m annoyingly glass half full sometimes…but that’s how I survive.

  2. Heidi

    kch, I agree with the ‘some things happen for a reason’. I have proof of that in my life. I wrote this in response to a line I think is used so much that it has lost its meaning and can take away from what we need to do – our part in it all.
    And so true about the ‘wonderful man’ – how you don’t have to be happy about your circumstances, but find meaning in them.
    To the cup being half full! 🙂

  3. dawn

    to me, “everything happens for a reason” was born out of our need to try and make some sense out of an unpredictable world. our world is more unpredictable than predictable, but it’s hard to swallow that sometimes. trying to stay neutral with it all is even harder.

  4. Heidi

    dawn, for sure. I get why we say it. Like you said we live in an unpredictable world. Isn’t that the truth?

    I think that we make choices that affect our outcomes. When I am faced with a not so great situation I can choose what I’m going to do with it. I can make it meaningful when it seems meaningless. I’ve done that and have seen something beautiful come out of it. The onus was upon me though. I wasn’t waiting until that reason came in.

    It’s the blanket of everything that makes me go hold on a second. I have heard it said in this band aid way and I’ve seen it hurt people. Having said that I have seen things happen for a reason and they wound up being good reasons too.

    To both comments: Thanks for these thought filled thoughts. I love this sort of stuff.

  5. Suz @ Alive in Wonderland

    I don’t think your “Sometimes” idea is depressing or cynical, I think it is thoughtful. You are very, very good about writing about ideas–feeling. I can relate and agree with you.
    The kids are adorable. I love this time of year.

  6. Dorkys R.

    I’m always torn about the phrase too. When it comes to other people I usually offer it up because I don’t know what else to say.

    As for me the “everything happens for a reason” is a load of hooey. I want to know why things happened and what will happen tomorrow because of it. I have a hard time leaving things to fate. I like knowing I have a hand in what happens in my life. But at the same time, letting things go and trusting in a higher power can take such a load off your shoulders and I don’t have that trust yet. I wish I did.

    I loved how you put all this into words…so insightful 🙂

    And your children are beautiful; I love your son’s face in that pumpkin shot! He’s really into it, huh? Too cute!!!

  7. Heidi

    dorkys r, I think it’s both – trusting yourself and trusting in God. It is for me anyway. I do what I can and the rest I leave and then hope for the best. It doesn’t always work out the way you want it to, but sometimes it does. 🙂
    Ben really gets into getting his picture taken but in this manic way. It can be hard to just get a regular pic of him. He is all about the crazy.

  8. Dorkys R.

    Hahaha “he’s all about the crazy.”

    I know people 20 years older than him who are “all about the crazy,” too.

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