Thursday, January 2, 2014

Day 150 of 365: Meaning

Sometimes it's hard to stick to the idea that everything does happen for a reason.

I hold strong onto the idea that every thing -- every minute, little thing that happens is part of a much larger song and dance, spanning backwards and forwards in time in a way that we cannot even begin to understand. I believe in the domino effect of our actions and I believe that sometimes our most important action will simply to be the catalyst for a completely different set of actions.

It's hard to hold onto that sometimes. It's hard to look at the child soldiers in the Congo and the civil war in Syria and go, "Yup, it's all for a reason."

I got a call this morning from a close friend. Our friend's mother has been battling cancer for a year or so now. There have been moments of hope, moments of desperation, moments where we swore it would all get better and moments where we prepared to make funeral arrangements. Yesterday, the doctors told her that her body was no longer responding to chemo and that she had pneumonia. Because of the chemo treatment completely wiping out her immune system, she has been given days to live.

It's something that I haven't fully processed. This is the fourth friend whose mother was diagnosed with cancer in the last two years. Only one of those mothers is now in remission. Two are gone, and I fear it's only a matter of time now.

Again, it seems really silly to compare genocide and torture with the course of one person's life ending by quasi-natural reasons. But it's the same idea behind, "It's sad when a village of people dies. It's tragedy when I stub my toe." This affects me personally, and therefore makes it 1000x worse.

I think the hardest part of believing that it all happens for a reason is the idea that our lives might have a smaller purpose than we can even fathom. That the ripples are so tiny in the great scheme of things that it doesn't matter that each eventually weaves it way around everyone else's. What if this death's only meaning is to shape one person's particular way of acting, so that they act in a different way around this other person, who goes off and does this or that thing, and so on and so forth. What is more frightening: that it has no meaning or that the meaning is so small and complex that it's almost harder to process than nothing at all?

It's been snowing heavily this morning. The birds from the forest have been dancing around my backyard, pecking through the snow for whatever food they can find. Morning doves and cardinals and sparrows and finches. They all look so beautiful as they desperately search for food against the white backdrop. A few of them probably won't survive the storm. And the others birds won't be burdened with wondering why -- if there is a why -- they are around when the others are not.

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