By Vonnie Woodrick
“Everything happens for a reason” was a phrase I heard much too often following the death of my husband. I knew people had good intentions, but that comment never sat well with me. I couldn’t rationalize many situations throughout my life, especially the reason as to why my kids had to grow up without their dad.
The one constant in life is change; life is continuously bringing us to where we are supposed to be. Sometimes that change can be incredible and exhilarating, such as when we fall in love, move to a new place, start a new job or when we become a parent.
The devastation of unexpected change can put you in a tailspin, leaving you not knowing which way is up, which direction to go or wondering how you will ever get through the pain. What do we do when we are sailing through life so smoothly, to suddenly meet a tsunami of change that cripples us emotionally, mentally and physically? How can one move through an unexpected announcement of divorce, financial devastation, watching a teen spiral downward? It’s at these times we question and are angered by the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.”
Without change, there would be no growth.
I think of the butterfly. In the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, the caterpillar is a homely creature that moves slowly into a dark and unfamiliar place. Yet, through time and change, it emerges as beautiful.
When we are experiencing that dark and unfamiliar place as humans, it is difficult to see where the beauty will emerge, or even believe that it will.
At times it may feel more comfortable to crawl into bed and snuggle up with a blanket than to accept the changes that have taken place. Those unexpected changes often bring us feelings of being uncomfortable, but butterflies that invade our stomachs with worry during those changes that are not meant to be controlled, but rather, accepted.
Many of us don’t want to grow emotionally; we are comfortable just where we are. When our world is shaken, we have a choice to stay stagnant, to stay inside our cocoon and become the victim of the circumstance, or we can accept it. Accepting your situation and your life is the key to growth, healing and living the life you were meant to live, even when it’s extremely difficult.
Most often, you will get through that difficult time, and you will grow in a way you never thought possible. It’s hard to see the light when things feel so dark, but chances are there is light surrounding you. There are others who can help you through. There will be a day when the change you experienced will shine a light on you; clarity will come when you recognize the lesson. You will pass the lesson on to help someone else who needed to learn from you.
It is important to accept the life you have been given, to go through the changes necessary, to carry yourself with dignity, and keep your head held high. I hope you will understand and perceive the butterfly as I do: change can be beautiful.
Personally, I believe that everything happens for a reason, even though the reason may be very difficult to see at times. The unforeseen change does have a silver lining, a light at the end of the tunnel that brings much needed clarity to our ever-changing journey.