Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why Bad Things Happen to Regular People; or, It Has Nothing To Do With You

I am not a person who believes that things happen for a reason.
I'm not cynical and I'm not a pessimist. What I believe is that things happen, and you can choose to find the good in them or not; but I don't believe that good and bad are inherent properties.  I don't believe that people are naturally good or bad.  Rather, I believe that people act badly in proportion to the amount of pain they've experienced.  And so sometimes people do bad things to you, and there's no visible reason--and it had nothing to do with you or your life, or whether you deserved it. 
Today I learned that the world really doesn't revolve around me.
I hear this phrase used a lot but it never struck home--I never realized its full import until today.
Sometimes bad things happen for no reason, earthquakes and car accidents and disease and all those other things we can't control.  Generally those sorts of things don't happen to me and in that I am very lucky.
Today, however, I came down with a case of excruciatingly painful pink eye while I was housesitting 40 minutes away from my apartment, two hours before I was supposed to go to a driving class on the last possible day before they suspend my license for not going.  I couldn't open my eyes well enough to drive myself anywhere and my phone had died. I was pretty well stranded.
 Luckily there was a landline at the house and I have some phone numbers memorized, and I got to the ER and then home again with only a few hiccups thanks to some crazy awesome friends of mine, but the point I want to make is that sometimes the good thing that comes out of a situation like that has nothing to do with you.
Sometimes your ER nurse is having the worst day ever and the fact that your case is relatively stress-free is the good thing.  You won't know about it and you won't know that there is any good hanging around your pink eye.
Sometimes your pharmacist was only breaking even for the week and your perfectly curable illness pushed her into the black.  (I'm making this up.  I have no idea if this ever happens, but I assume it does because a business is a business, right?  No matter how expensive your BC is.)
Sometimes you get rear-ended and have to pay your deductible with your vacation money, but that person never ever texts when driving ever again.  They don't write you a letter to tell you so but they also don't kill anybody.
Sometimes Job loses all his children and cows and gets boils on his ass without even an explanation from God, but every Bible-reader that comes after has a story to turn to for understanding.
And you will lie in bed with one eye crusted shut wondering what the hell you ever did to deserve this--but just remember: there is some good in it, somewhere, but it has nothing to do with you.
Nothing ever does.

1 comment:

  1. Love this and certainly needed to read something like it this morning. It has nothing to do with me but I choose to appreciate it nonetheless ;)