Everything happens for a reason, right?? Seriously- who made up this phrase anyway? It had to be someone that never experienced a life changing event personally. If he or she had, they would understand how ridiculous it sounds. What could possibly be the purpose of having children die? What purpose does a devastating storm wreaking destruction have? Why did that person cross the center line and why did another decide they could no longer live in this world? There are so many questions, but not enough answers. Sometimes I think it’s harder to move on when you don’t understand “WHY” it happened.
That’s probably why this question has been in my thoughts often since McKinley died. This wasn’t the first tragic event I’ve lived through and I’m sure it won’t be my last, but it is the one event that has stopped me in my tracks and really made me look at life. I’ve read different books and I’ve listened to different explanations and I’ve come to my own conclusion on why bad things happen. I guess it all goes back to the fact that Heaven is something we strive for, not that we are given. If we never experienced any difficulties or heartache in this world then why would Heaven sound so wonderful? If we never thought we’d get to see our loved ones how hard would that be?
What if we have a “life plan” and we were put on this earth for a reason? What if our actions had a direct effect on others in either a positive or negative way? What if this lifetime is supposed to teach us how to be a better person and live a more fulfilling life? Every human being is so different and we each have our own unique characteristics. We have so much to learn from each other. One phase of life I’m around often is a nursing home environment. I look at some of these patients and I wonder how God can let them be afflicted with these awful physical and mental problems. Maybe their purpose in life is to teach us to appreciate what we have while we are able and also to teach compassion to those around them. When I see a staff member go up to a patient with compassion and friendliness it moves me and makes me want to do the same thing.
I’ve also been around parents that have “wowed” me. The ones that seem to have patience that never ends (and I don’t know how that is possible). A co-worker recently shared a story with me about a woman having a difficult time with multiple children and her son stepping in to help. I think we need to all remember that sometimes we have a bad day and might need a little bit of help. I bet that parents that have had difficult children are more willing to help others because they know how hard it can sometimes be.
What about issues that we may not feel comfortable with or know little about? Someone that has been faced with a cancer diagnosis and is now in remission has a lot to be thankful for. Many of these people will be the ones behind the Relays For Life and other great events. What about the person that is given a terminal diagnosis? Do we run away from them in fear because we don’t know how to handle it or are we there for them? A couple with fertility issues will make the best parents because they know how precious life is. Someone that has a loved one die in a drunken driving accident is going to try to increase awareness. Have you saw ads on this? I have, and it brings tears to my eyes each and every time.
You see, what happens in our life forms who we are. I guess we have choices to make. We can either love and risk the chance of getting hurt or we can try and block others from our life. As I’m writing this I still have lots of problems thinking that anything good can possibly come out of McKinley’s death. Even a year later I am still heartbroken and lost. I’m not happy about it, but this experience has taught me a lot. I’m stronger than I thought I could be. I’m proud of the fact that my family and Mandy’s family has put our grief to a useful purpose. I’m glad that it has increased my faith instead of turning me away. I’ve lived through something awful, but I’m going to use the pain to try and do something positive. This is my life plan and what I feel my purpose is. I want to continue to live while incorporating our daughter’s short yet meaningful life into it. It is what I’ve learned and it is who I now am.
Thank you to all our servicemen and women, past and present, that have protected and given us the liberties we have. It takes a very brave and dedicated person to do this. Thank you also to the families of these special people.