It is not very often that my Mom and I disagree on life’s basic daily issues, beliefs, and general opinions. Yes, hard to believe for some, but my Mom and I almost always agree.
Yet, yesterday, we had a conversation about a relative’s poor health. She had a kidney transplant and a life expectancy of 5 years (average). Ten years later, she is alive and kicking, among her loved ones and watching her children and grandchildren grow up. My mom then said, “God puts us in a place and a time and we must be grateful”.
This brought to mind the very cliche phrase “Things happen for a reason”. I have to admit, at one point in my life I used both of these phrases, supported by nothing but blind faith. However, as I have grown and matured , I have being exposed to more “out of the bubble” events. My life during my first 28 years in Mexico, was rather protected and comfortable. Rare were the occasions in which I crossed my path with a devastating event, loss, and never – fortunately- financial desperation.
Moving out from home, ironically to a First World Country, has made me more aware of the world’s catastrophes, conflict, disease. More keen to other’s beliefs and non-beliefs. While I grew up among friends with very similar social and economic backgrounds, I know find myself being friends with a victim of domestic violence, my own housekeeper, a Mom that can’t afford a single trip to a theme park, or a very close friend who is fighting Cancer.
I have seen parents lose jobs, lose homes, having to relocate under the pressure of “Unaffordable California”. I have seen more children than I’d like in wheelchairs or with severe learning disabilities. I have learned to respect and understand followers of other faiths- or no faith at all.
The heterogeneous society in which I live now, has given me the priceless opportunity to learn and grow in ways that no school or faith could have taught me.
In my very personal opinion, living in a little world that is almost perfect (because it is easy to ignore or shut out the ugly, sad or inconvenient facts) limits one’s potential of thinking deep thoughts, creating to improve, feeling to understand pain, and to reach out to help.
Never in my life have I felt so much pleasure in giving, in helping, in offering before even being asked. Never did I imagine that being a mother of two and a working mom, I would still find some time to do a little extra, and the only reason I can think of is because I have seen, I have heard, I have felt a little bit of what is happening out there: in friend’s homes, in other countries, or even in my son’s heavy heart when he gets sad. I just realized this sounds somewhat pretentious, but that is exactly how I feel today.
So back to my Mom’s comment, after hearing her out yesterday, I said, “I am sorry Mom, but I don’t agree”.
I explained that what I do believe is that every simple decision that we make -every day- has a consequence, whether it be small like where to eat today or huge like which career path to select or who to marry, it all has a consequence sooner or later. Some have a snowball effect, some bring life changing situations. I see it like a huge puzzle or web in which every piece takes us into a slightly different way, one piece at a time.
I used to say to my husband “We are so lucky that we have jobs ” and he would disagree stating that it had nothing to do with luck but hard work and drive. So, little by little I have been changing my views towards what some people refer to as “Destiny”.
My mother had a stroke when she was only 27 or so. She was in great health with no history of drinking or smoking. A good friend lost her 5 year old son while he was playing outside , on his own driveway. My son was born with a Life threatening allergy that he will never overcome, which makes me worried sick…forever.
And now, one of my best friends is fighting Cancer.
So, no! I don’t believe things happen for a reason. And I certainly do not believe God makes everything happen as it does. I doubt He wanted any children dead, or paralyzed, or my Mom with a stroke at such a young age.
I believe they just happen. Illnesses and diseases are a bitch. Period. Specially when we haven’t found a cure (or so they say…).
Accidents happen and God has nothing to do with it. We can pray for consolation and comfort and peaceful rest for those souls that leave this earth.
Even at an early age, I have found it important to teach my children about consequences after their own choices, and about taking responsibility for their actions. I am sure it will make a difference. It has to. 🙂