Experience has taught me that everything happens for one of two reasons. Those reasons are that we either have something to learn or something to teach, often both. I may not know the reason or understand why things occur and I don’t have to. Just trusting that there is a reason helps.
The real prize is that I or we get to decide what that reason is. It is up to us to find, create or associate a value to life’s circumstances. Why did someone lose their job? Why did someone have to die? Why do I have multiple sclerosis? I can answer that last question.
I have learned volumes about myself, the world around me and what it means to live with a disability. Much of the judgment I held about people with disabilities has been erased and I have become much more sensitive to how accessible our world is to those with physical challenges. I have also learned that though there are some things that we cannot control, we have influence over matters that we often never exercise.
Living with a disability has also been an extraordinary lesson in gratitude. All of us take much for granted. I now take far less for granted than I used to.
Most notably, I have something to teach. My children, friends and family all witness how I choose to live my life. Is it difficult for me to get from Point A to Point B? Yes, but I do it anyway. Do I ask for help when I need it? Yes, I have to and have discovered in the process that the world is filled with kind people. Have I found new ways to express myself and participate in the world? Absolutely.
People who know me can see by my example that “when life deals you lemons, make lemonade.” While all of that may sound like what I have learned (and it is), it is also what those who know me best have learned by observation.
“Everything in life happens for a reason” is not some cosmic or new age approach to life. It is a practical, humanistic approach that allows us to determine the meaning we give to our lives and the events that take place.
One can assume that life is a series of random, meaningless events. Perhaps it is. Perhaps not. Either way, giving reason and purpose to my life makes it all the more worth living.
Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.