I just don’t always know what the reason is at the time. And, sometimes, I think we never will.
Recently, I saw some greeting cards that were written for people with cancer. They were supposed to be cards that went against the norm. Cards that took down the irritating platitudes that people tend to bestow on the terminally ill. One of those cards said, “Please let me be the first to punch the next person who tells you everything happens for a reason.”
I get it. When you are going through something horrible, and someone tells you that there is a reason for it, it’s infuriating. You don’t want to hear about reasons. You want to hear that what you are going through sucks, and that there is no logic to it. You want to know that the person you are talking to will be there for you, and won’t pity you, or try to fit you into some neat little box. And you definitely don’t want to hear that your suffering is part of some bigger plan.
But, what if it is?
What if there is some mega agent out there that dictates balance in the Universe, and somehow, your suffering is allowing someone else to live? Or, what if what you are going through enables you to help others down the road?
I don’t know that any of this is true, but, it’s something I wonder about a lot. In fact, I’ve come to believe that part of the reason that I had to endure a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder was because it has helped me to be a more empathic person, and a better therapist. Did I suffer because of her? Hell. Yes. Would I change my upbringing if I could? Absolutely not.
One of my favorite singers, Dave Matthews, sings, “Be wary of those who believe in a neat little world, ‘cuz it’s just fucking crazy, you know that it is.” I’m guessing he doesn’t think that everything happens for a reason, but I’ll let that slide.
Now, I know, that when things work out in your favor, it’s much easier to attribute meaning, or order, to those events. And sometimes, when we look back on something that we wanted so badly, but didn’t get, we can see that we were, somehow, being protected from our own instincts. As Garth Brooks sings, “Sometimes, I thank God for unanswered prayers.”
This actually happened to me and my husband. When we first moved to North Carolina, it was 2006, when home loans were being handed out like candy, and luckily so, because noone in their right mind would have given us a loan otherwise. We moved without knowing how many of my clients would follow me by phone, and if he would be able to find a job. Basically, we had no proven income, and nothing to put down either. We were a lender’s worst nightmare. But, because of the economic climate at the time, we were able to get a loan, an awful loan, but a loan nonetheless. Our loan had a high interest rate, and a balloon at the end of 15 years, meaning, that if we stayed in the house for 15 years, we would owe a ton of money all at once. Plus, since my husband was only a resident at the time, we put the loan in my name only, which meant we couldn’t even use his potential income.
From the very beginning, our plan was to refinance this loan, once my husband became a citizen, and our jobs were more concrete. But, every time we tried to refinance, something crazy would happen right before closing day. Crazy, as in, once I went into labor, and another time Diego got fired for the first time in his life, crazy. One way or another, we just could not refinance.
At the time, this was incredibly frustrating. We knew how much money we could be saving if we could lower our interest rate, and, like most Americans, we could have used the cash. Plus, every refinance effort came with a ridiculous amount of paperwork, back and forth with the bank, and a $600 appraisal fee! It was maddening.
That is, until I realized that another soul needed to join our family. Previously, after having survived a horrendous pregnancy and emergency c-section, we had decided that we were “one and done.” But, all that changed when I felt Gabriel’s soul speaking to me.
Once I became pregnant, we realized that our 2 bedroom house wasn’t going to cut it. We would need to move. Despite Diego’s belief that we could “just put the baby’s crib in the living room,” I became firm in my aspirations to move. And, I figured, we may as well get a house with a pool while we were at it.
As it turns out, our house didn’t sell as quickly as we would have liked, but my growing belly dictated that we needed to move before selling. I already knew which house I wanted, because it was the ONLY updated house, in our price range, with a pool. Amazingly, we were able to move into that house as renters, (for a short period of time, while we worked out the details of our new loan), the same day that renters moved into our old house!
When we finally were able to purchase our new house, we did it in only Diego’s name, because our old house still hadn’t sold. In other words, if we had been able to refinance our old house, we wouldn’t have been able to buy our new one, because Diego’s name would have been on the old loan too.
Oh, and we did eventually sell our old house, after I became a realtor. It was my first sale, but I’m saving that story for another post. The point here is that sometimes, after days, weeks, months, or years, we do get a glimpse into the divine nature of things. The question is, can we keep the faith, even when we can’t see the silver lining?