Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Maybe We're Not Being Punished

Something we hear all the time is the age old question of "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

And it does. All the time. And it just never seems fair. Horrible things shouldn't happen to people who have done nothing to deserve it. And it makes you wonder, if there's someone up there looking out for us, who would let that happen. Not that whoever is up there is necessarily allowed to mess around in our lives, but still. I can't think about whoever is up there, if anyone at all. It plagues me.

I spent the day with some friends yesterday, and one of them has been going through a lot of shit recently, (and handling it like a saint, I can't even fathom coping the way she is, she's a real trooper) so she and I were discussing the stuff we've been going through lately that has been making life really difficult for us. Both of us have a lot on our plate with school, and jobs, and have recently had someone we love leave our lives, she's just been going through it ten times more intensely than I have. Like I said, can't even imagine. We kind of had a heart to heart on the bus last night, and she made an incredibly insightful comment.

"I don't think it's that we're being punished for anything, I mean, I don't know everything you've done in your life, but I can't imagine you've done anything that would ever make you deserve this, and I know I haven't, so I can't think it's that we're being punished. I think it's just that we needed this, because we needed to learn from it."

I was struck by this. We're all so concerned with "What have I done to deserve this?" that we forget about "What can I learn from this?" Maybe you didn't do anything at all. Maybe you didn't deserve it. But maybe you're supposed to learn from it, and if you don't, it's just a lot of pain, and a lot of waste.

Throughout all of this, I keep saying that I can't be mad, and I can't harbor any resentment, because I know that more than anything, I learned and grew so much because of everything that happened, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world. And maybe I didn't do anything to deserve the heartache I'm living with now, but maybe I needed the experience, and yea, the heartache, in order to grow.

No one wants to lose their job, or lose their parents, or watch their relationship fail, or become estranged from their family. And most of the time, the people whom these things happen to didn't deserve it. But if you don't take something away from the experience, it's as though you're suffering for nothing. I'm not saying that every single awful thing that happens to us has this great silver lining, because frankly, some things are just shitty no matter how you slice it. But as often as you can, learn something.

Don't ask "What did I do to deserve this?" Ask "What can I learn from this?" and then "Where do I go from here?"

Have you ever had something horrible happen to you that helped you grow? Did you ever feel like you didn't deserve something awful (or even something good) that happened to you? Did you learn something from the experience?


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