Like the Boston Bombing, wars, death and sorrow?
by Wendy Keller, mother, daughter, sister
The bombing in Boston has shaken up Americans…again. As we face the reality of our time in history, we also recognize that other nations have suffered for much longer than we have done.
Why do bad things have to happen in the first place?
Some people say, “It’s God’s/Allah’s/Jehovah’s will” or “Everything happens for a reason.” Others ascribe it to Destiny, Bad Luck or Fate. These answers may silence the questioner, but do they really answer the question in our souls? I don’t think so.
What our souls long to know is how to prevent more bad things from happening in the future. Because if you know why, then surely we can prevent it. We can make the world safer. Most of us wish there was a vaccine for cancer, car accidents and even colds. Because we know why people get polio or smallpox, now we can prevent those diseases. Wouldn’t it be nice to know Why so you can change your future?
Besides, the real truth is uncomfortable and even unthinkable.
Try on the unthinkable: there is no Why.
I like all those positive thinking books that tell you that your outer world is a mirror of your inner thoughts. Yeah, right. Tell that to the parents whose eight-year-old boy was killed in yesterday’s bombing.
If you can accept that there is no Why, then here comes the bigger question.
The bigger question is “What do I do now?”
Bad things happen in Boston and Botswana. They happen in the family down the street and in your life too. Your goal isn’t to try to wrestle the Why out of it all. Sadly, you’ll never know for sure Why. Even in the “obvious” cases. Not everyone who drinks and drives kills themselves or others; not everyone who smokes gets cancer; not everyone whose diet is mostly Cheetos and Coke dies of heart failure. You’ll never know for sure Why the bad things happen.
Asking “What do I do now?” opens you up to learning, personal growth, greater compassion for others, and maybe even the ability to avoid such a fate (again).
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying learning, growth, compassion or any of that stuff is adequate payback for great suffering. Certainly not! But it does help you move through your remaining years alive on this planet. And really, what else is there?