Everything happens for a reason.

There are few phrases that put me on edge faster than this one.

I usually hear it immediately following someone telling me about something stupid or selfish or just straight up horrible that they did.

“Yeah, he caught me cheating and kicked me out. Oh well, everything happens for a reason.”

“So I got drunk and wrecked my car, and got arrested, but everything happens for a reason.”

I automatically cringe when I hear this because there is this subtle belief within this that the person isn’t actually responsible for their decision, that there is some higher symmetry at work and everything is actually for the best, no matter who was hurt or how bad things are.

“CPS is taking the kids away, but everything happens for a reason.”

“I got fired for not showing up again, but everything happens for a reason.”

Yes, everything happens for a reason, but it really may not be the cosmic movements of a higher power as often as we like to think it is.

A majority of the time, the reasons hit much closer to home, at least they do for me.

I make somebody angry, everything happens for reason. Unfortunately, the reason is most likely that I was tired or annoyed or generally done with people and I said something shitty to them rather than God himself working to help me draw boundaries in my life.

I rear end someone, which I did last week, and everything happens for a reason. The reason was most likely a lack of sleep and general fuzziness after having to unexpectedly put my cat to sleep. It wasn’t the universe trying to slap me back into awareness. It was physics and a lack of paying attention.

Everything does happen for a reason, but it is much more often related to our own choices than to any sort of great universal lesson.

So why do we do the things we do?

They make sense to us at the time.

They have to, as a species we cannot do something without a reason. There has to be some sort of motivating force.

A reason.

Explore your reasons, you’ll find that they are there and that they made sense to you at the time.

We are all doing the best we can with what we have, but if we can examine the things we’ve done that we aren’t happy with, with objectivity and insight, we can do better the next time.

Or, maybe, the universal overmind really is rearranging time and space and bringing suffering to innocent people just to create some clarity in your life.