I am so honored to be on Anna's blog today! Thank you so much for having me.
It is said often in times of distress and hardship: "Everything happens for a reason." I'm guilty of it as well. I've muttered those same five words to friends over the course of my life, hoping to ease the pain of loss, heartbreak, rejection and guilt. And every time that I have, it's because the words were true to me. I believed it just as much as anyone else. I needed to.
Last October, my best friend called me, unable to catch her breath. The tears poured through the line, the words seeming distant and dreamlike. "I'm getting a divorce."
We had spent countless hours analyzing her husband's actions, his lies, his cowardice. Neither of us had dealt with anything like it. It felt like we were plummeting from the highest slope on the rollercoaster and there wasn't an end in sight. Our hair whipped behind us as we clung for dear life on the steepest drop we had ever encountered.
I say "we", because although it was her primary experience, I lived it with her. I was the detective, the soother, the optimist. I cried for her, I felt angry for her. No matter what I did, I couldn't protect her. Together we worked, building a fortress to shield her from her sadness, but it was no use. It followed her everywhere. It rode shotgun in her car. It worked alongside her by day and curled around her in bed at night. It was the leaky faucet- drip, drip, dripping-and she could never find a way to turn it off.
For three years, she held on, convinced things would get better. They never did.
You may be wondering why she didn't jump ship long before that. If she was unhappy, why didn't she walk away? We've talked about it. There is no definable answer to that. She loved him. And there is no measure to how much we will go through for the people that we love, especially if we believe somewhere deep down that they can be what we need them to be.
That night, after she explained how the conversation went, I told her that things would be better now. That this all happened for a reason and it would make her a stronger person and she was wonderful. Did she know she was amazing? I spouted every positive line I could think of in an attempt to lighten the load of what she had been carrying with her for so long.
In a way, I was wrong to do it.
Had I but known that words meant to uplift aren't always the solution, I would never have said them. Of course, she is wonderful and amazing, brilliant, talented, beautiful, kind and strong. Of course she is all of these things and more. The truth however, is that not everything happens for a reason. For her, it was true-though we didn't see it that way at the time. The ties of her past led her to the bonds of her future: her new husband. But this isn't the case for everyone. Sometimes really awful things happen and there is no rhyme or reason to it. I have looked at it from every angle. This thing, this horrible thing, happened. And it dragged on for a long time. At the end of it, there was nothing left to give or take. She is happier now, remarried to a very good man. Those three years prior? They are nothing now. Like walking into a patch of fog. There is nothing tangible that remains there.
We find small solace in saying these things to people we love, because we're not sure what else to say. But the most value lies in allowing our loved ones to work through their feelings; to come to their own conclusions. The truth is that yes, sometimes things do happen for a reason. Regardless, we shouldn't rush to adhere the bandaid no matter how badly we wish to. The depths of grief vary by person-so do the minutes and hours and days and years that it takes to come out on the other side of it. Rather than saying, "Everything happens for a reason," perhaps we should simply leave it at, "I'm here for you."
Over the years, Jennifer's dabbled in various lines of work: a Sandwich Artist, Shoe Saleswoman, Home Decor Specialist, Paint Specialist, and over the last five years, she's worked in banking. That is, until recently when she decided to become a full-time stay at home mom. She is a wife, a mother, and, as you can see, a fabulous writer. Jen hosts the blog Defining My Happy and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. I am honored to have her writing on the Isle today. Thank you so much, Jen, for working us into your busy schedule and for starting off the Fall for us with such insight and passion.
REMEMBER: Tomorrow I announce the winner of the Pioneer Christmas Giveaway!!!