It's a common saying, origins unknown. "Everything happens for a reason."
I've said it before and I think I even believed it for a long time. Sometimes things happen, even bad things. We may not know the reason behind them when they happen, but, eventually, it seems, most things turn out okay. Sometimes better.
It makes me think of the song by Garth Brooks "Unanswered Prayers." In the song, he sings about how he had wanted a relationship to work out more than anything in the world. He prayed to his God to make it come true. He was devastated when it didn't work out and he couldn't understand why God hadn't answered his prayers. Later in his life, he realizes that God was right. God had something better in store for him. He then thanks God for "Unanswered Prayers."
Life isn't like a song, obviously. But, I'm sure I'm not the only one who was comforted in times of need by the sentiment. "Everything happens for a reason." Sometimes when it would seem like there could be no reason in the world, other than misery, for something to happen; it's comforting to think that, perhaps, there is a higher power - there is a reason, even if you can't see it yet.
And then, I got cancer. And then, I got cancer again. And, I lost my breasts. And, I endured chemo. And, I lost my hair.
What reason could there be for this suffering? If there is a God, why would He make me (or anyone else) endure this? Why did my friend's 5 year old daughter die of cancer? Why does a young mother with two young boys die of breast cancer? What could be the reasoning or meaning behind such heartache and agony and suffering?
I remember, soon after I was diagnosed, a friend had to go in for a biopsy after a suspicious mammogram. When everything came back clear, she sent out an email thanking God and thanking everyone for their prayers. "All of my friends must have prayed really hard for me and God listened!" she said.
Did MY friends not pray hard enough for me? Did God not listen to me? Did God turn His back on my prayers? If so, why? I was happy that she was okay - but I really questioned why God doesn't love me as much.
Why is one person spared (not that I wish cancer on anyone) and another not? Why is one person left to suffer and another not?
WHY did I get cancer? WHAT could possibly be the greater good in this?
In 2006, at an appointment at my ENT for an ear infection, he did his exam and told me I had a large lump on my thyroid. I didn't even know what a thyroid was or where it was. After biopsies and tests, it was undetermined whether or not it was cancer. The mass was growing rapidly. The smart decision was to have it removed (along with half of my thyroid) to find out, for sure, what it was. In December 2006, I had the surgery. It was a benign tumor.
That experience changed ME dramatically. It changed so much how I looked at life and how I dealt with life. With two small children (ages 5 and 2) and facing cancer - I was terrified. I vowed to not take things for granted (as much) anymore. I vowed to not fight every fight that came my way. I vowed to let more go and not react so quickly to other people and situations.
And, I really did change. I became nicer and calmer. I let more roll off my back. I appreciated life more and I loved my husband and kids more. I slowed down a bit and enjoyed the day to day living. I argue less. I give people the benefit of the doubt much more easily. I forgive.
If *almost* having cancer changed me as profoundly as it did. If I became a better person already. Why did I still GET cancer? What am I supposed to learn from this? What am I supposed to do with this experience? Where do I go from here?
I struggle with this daily - even now. I don't think "Woe is me...." But, I do question, "Why me?"
If "everything happens for a reason." What is my reason?