Everything happens for a reason… or does it?

I have lived by the phrase for my entire life. In fact, I used to love the phrase so much, I felt the need to coin a word for it. I use the word synchonocity (not to be confused with synchronicity) as a simple and shorter way of saying “everything happens for a reason.”

The more that has happened to me over the past year at Virginia Tech, the more my perception has changed. I used the phrase as an excuse for a mistake. I used the phrase to rationalize injustices around me. I used the words, because I can. It’s just easier to say “everything happens for a reason” than accept the truth of the situation and reality.

As an upper-middle class, Catholic, white, heterosexual male, it’s easier to dwell on the positive than the negative. The truth: there isn’t much to be negative about. As I reflect back on my life, I really haven’t had the experiences that most people have had. I did what was comfortable, because risk involves loss. I did what was comfortable, because for every decision, I only had something to lose (and never something to gain). I never had to worry about paying my way through college or figuring out how I was going to eat next. Everything was good and the status quo can certainly be a bad thing. I look around at my high school peers and wonder if they realize what they have been given. In college, I have a friend paying his own tuition and housing. I have a friend finding himself as a homosexual male in a heterosexual world. I have a friend that experienced what nobody should ever have to experience. I have these people who have redefined who I am. I could be like my peers from home: the ones who coast through life with ease. But, I refuse to be content. Being content implies satisfaction and that’s not good enough for me. I have privileges that most people only dream of having in their life. The average median income is six figures for families in my county. By the way, Cnn: Money labeled Arlington, VA as the most educated county in the United States a few years back (with over a third of adults containing graduate degrees). The foundation of who Shane McCarty really is can be explained by my parents, locations, and friends. Family dinners involved family discussion on what a particular congressman really felt about the passing of today’s legislative bill. Outings for dinner were with Mayors and influential people. I am lucky to have grown up so fortunate with a strong family and that didn’t happen for a reason.

Back to the point of everything happens for reason. If I still believed the words, then I would probably be like those from home. I would go through life accepting that life is good, but never really feel the need to accomplish anything. Synchronocity is wrong, because I control my own destiny. I made the choice to be the best I can be. I chose to use my privileges to remain a head, so I can do something remarkable to change the world. “Everything happens for a reason” is a cop out. The next time you hear the phrase, ask the person if anything catastrophic has happened to them. If they say yes, then commend them for their positive attitude on life. If they say no, then tell them to use their privileges to make sure that they never have to use the phrase again to rationalize something that happened to somebody else.

Shane says in short: Ask yourself if you believe everything truly happens for a reason. Did you say yes, because you are positive or because you are privileged? Maybe the good things “happen for a reason” and the bad things are just bad…

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~ by shanemccarty on April 21, 2009.

One Response to “Everything happens for a reason… or does it?”

  1. Kinda surprised I came across this lil gem of yours, but I’m glad I did! This post definitely puts a different spin on things. Got me thinking! I like it! Keep up the good work, Shane!

    -Shan

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