Do Things Happen For A Reason?

Interesting, the title is our blog prompt for the day. I’ve been puzzling away at something similar for a post.  Serendipity.


There’s a Japanese story (that I will totally slaughter) that goes something like this:

A poor farmer went out to work the fields in the morning, and he found a beautiful stallion tied next to his hut. The neighbors all said “What good fortune you have!  Isn’t that the most wonderful gift?  You are very lucky.”

The old man says: “Maybe.”

His son rides the beautiful stallion, and takes the goods to market.  On the way back, the stallion is frightened by a wild boar, and the son falls off and breaks his leg. The neighbors say, “What a terrible misfortune!  That’s awful!  Who will work your fields? The stallion has brought you bad luck!”

The old man says: “Maybe.”

The Emperor sends his warriors to every village, to collect the best horses, and all the young men.  There will be war.  They take the stallion, but the son is useless to them, because of his broken leg.  The neighbors say: “Good riddance to the stallion! He will make the Emperor very happy. The Emperor will think you generous, to part with such a horse.  What good fortune!”

The old man says: “Maybe”

The neighbors say: “But how unfortunate that your son will not be able to fight for the Emperor and bring honor to your family name.  That is a great misfortune.   You are the most unlucky man in our village.”

The old man says nothing, as he watches all the young men march out of the village, but he thinks: “Maybe.”

I now own a horse I’ve loved for years!  I’m ecstatic!  I’m delirous with happiness!  How incredibly fortunate!

Something crumbles in my psyche: I lose the easy confidence I have in my horse skills. This is terrible!  I’m doubting and second guessing kiddie stuff in horse care.  How unfortunate!

I find a temporary cure: I pretend I don’t own Hudson, and everything goes back to normal.  How fortunate!

I can’t pretend every second. My automatic good horsemanship clarity goes fuzzy for the first time in my life.  Among other errors, I walk between two cranky, hungry, scuffling horses, and get kicked.  How unfortunate!

It was a bad kick to my good leg. After two weeks I get to stop using the walker.  Now I have a hurt leg and a bum leg. Both are dragging. Going to the barn is out of the question. How unfortunate!

Bella and Alice generously volunteer to cover Hudson-care while I’m out.  I know how big this is. How fortunate!

The bum leg has no choice: overtime!   This makes it very sore.   Now both legs hurt.  A lot. How unfortunate!

As the weeks go by, my bum leg gets stronger, and my “walking” is more centered and balanced than it has been in years.  Not even the gym could make that happen.  Being kicked in my good leg. How fortunate!

The dog swallows half a chew stick without chewing.  He doesn’t feel so good.  It’s creating a backup in his digestive system.  The vet says it’s too soon to x-ray, let’s see if it digests, give him mushy rice and chopped chicken.  Maybe we can get him back to normal. Every day is spent worrying: did he poop yet?  How much?  How unfortunate.

It’s good, it’s bad, it’s good, it’s bad, it’s…

…about perspective.

My perspective is fluid.  It changes when new information is available.

I can’t answer “Do things happen for a reason?”. Personally, I lean toward the singular: “things happen”.

It’s what we do with what happens that gives us reasons.

What do you think?


14 thoughts on “Do Things Happen For A Reason?

  1. Things happen for a reason, certainly. But mostly because something we did led to that event. I can’t say I have much faith in the cosmic interrelation of random things. Mostly, what interests me is how people react to what’s happened to them. That, of course, is influenced by their perception of why . . .

    As for me, each day is new. If I didn’t like what happened yesterday, I just try not to make the same mistake again!

    Glad you’re healing! It always takes longer than we think it should. Or, maybe that’s just a factor of getting too darn old!

  2. You are right — things just happen. There is no reason — that’s just something people make up because they can’t handle the fact that life is often just random. Things happen — deal with it and get on with your life. 🙂

  3. I’m of the mind that things happen for a reason, although not always a good one as far as I’m concerned. Clearly there is not good reason for me NOT to win the lottery.

    Glad you’re healing up and finding the half full glasses.

  4. Maybe things happen but if a horse kicked me I would kick him back. Winning the lottery will not happen to me because I never buy a ticket. Life sucks. Life is grand. I am starting to think we can just get into the habit of looking on the bright side, or get into the habit of whining about all the things that happen. It’s a choice.

  5. Well, things sort of happen for a reason…. I think we learn from everything, so I guess things happen to teach us something. Of course, since we learn something from everything (I think), then things could be happening randomly and haphazardly, instead of “for a reason,” and we’d still be learning something. Hmm. My head hurts too.

  6. “Things happen for a reason” is a coping mechanism to get people through hard times.

    I’d put more faith in it as a fact of life if, say, someone won the lottery and then broke their leg, and people rallied sympathetically around them: “Well, thank goodness you won the lottery! There was a reason for it — now you can go shopping while you’re laid up with the broken leg!”

    I’m in the “things happen” camp. Bad things happen; good things happen. You adjust and learn either way. Not because there’s a “reason” for them, but just because that’s life.

    But if I ever win the lottery and then break my leg, I’ll be more than happy to reconsider my stance.

    1. I totally agree, Halt Near X. Things just happen; it all depends on what you do about them. And sometimes that’s just changing your attitude 🙂

  7. I have no earthly idea! But I think I agree with Kerry: if we think things happen for a reason, then that affects our perspective. If we think things happen for no reason, then that affects our perspective. It’s all in our own minds. We create our own world. To get existential about it, let’s say there is no meaning to life. But if we create a meaning, then we can do great things or terrible things depending on what meaning we create.

    Ow. My head hurts. (P.S. Interesting: I originally “accidentally” typed “My head hearts.” This is probably because I’m trying to grow a heart in my head, if you know what that means!

  8. Last week I got run over by one horse and kicked by another… all in the same day. In retrospect, I should have taken the rest of the day off after getting run over. After all… I got RUN OVER. By a HORSE…. and though I thankfully walked away from the experience with just a few bruises and a good helping of adrenaline…. it effected my brain for the rest of the day. And so… I got kicked. Some people might say I was in the wrong place at the right time…. and that the horse kicked out in response to another horse. But I know how precise they are with those back legs…. and I got the message loud and clear. 1) Pay more attention…. be more aware. Especially during feeding time. 2) When you’re brain is distracted because you just lived through a life-threatening incidence…. do not try and work with more horses the following afternoon. Go home, have a cup of tea, rejoice that life is good, get a good night’s rest, and continue on the next day when all your brain cells are intact.
    Yes… everything happens for a reason!

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