I've been thinking recently about the idea that everything happens for a reason. It gets tossed around a lot whenever something bad happens to someone, but do we really mean it?
Probably a lot of you are going to disagree with me when I say that I think this is a first world concept. Or maybe even a first world middle class and above concept.
It should be an easy thing for someone like me to believe. Sure, I've been through my share of crap like anyone else, but really I've had a pretty charmed life, haven't I? And it's only a function of where I was born and the family I was born into. No matter what happens to me, I'm probably going to end up ok. I've got a college degree, an above-average intellect, passable social skills, and if all else fails, a supportive family to fall back on. In a couple of months, I should even have some pretty good health insurance. In all likelihood, things are going to wind up working out alright for me. So if something bad happens, it's likely to be followed by something good and I can then reason that the first thing had to happen so the second thing could follow, whether they appear to be related or not. See, you could say to me, everything happens for a reason.
But I wonder whether you'd say that to someone living in abject poverty. Would you tell a ten year-old girl in India that she had been forced into prostitution for a reason? Would you say it to a teenager, thrown out of her family's home in Darfur because she was raped at gunpoint? To people in our own communities and around the world who starve while others of us have enough (and frequently too much) to eat?
I don't know. Everything happens for a reason just doesn't seem to hold up outside of our relatively privileged bubble. Maybe you'd say that everything happens for a more global reason, but that makes it pretty cold comfort to the individual, doesn't it? And I'm sure we've all seen good things come from bad, but does it necessarily follow that the good was the reason for the bad?
I guess this is just one of those things that I'm tossing out there to see what you all think. Are they just easy, empty words or do you think there's really something to the idea? What's your take?