I am always looking for the reason why things happen [to me]. Occasionally this makes me feel better when things seem to happen beyond my control. If I can’t explain it, my default is to believe things happen “for the story; another chapter in my life.” Ultimately, though, the most mysterious things are the ones for which I can never find explanations, like why the kindest, most wonderful people are the ones struck with the vilest forms of torturous death. I can’t find a reason for this or the reason for thousands of children dying of cancer. Adding to that list, I’ve never been able to comprehend the meaning for any of the horrific diseases lurking on every page of the Internet or the reason for the Holocaust, or any war.
Sometimes I get stuck in traffic or miss the train and rather than getting frustrated, I think of the movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow and feel reassured that I’m exactly where I need to be. Missing the train means I wasn’t meant to be on it, or if I’m late, it’s because life is delaying my arrival until the precise moment I’m supposed to be there. Having faith in mysterious forces isn’t natural for me; I wasn’t raised with a religion controlling our lives. We knew we were Jewish – and it was important – but it didn’t influence what we ate, when we used electricity, or what we wore. My religion was more of a club I was born into, like a last name, which identified my heritage or history, but it didn’t govern my life.
Nowadays I think about the reason for things at every step, sometimes obsessively. We had a flood in our apartment and while I didn’t plan on renovations, I convince myself the reason it happened was so I get a new kitchen I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. Every step of the way, we have been following the rules, by the books and yet we still come upon struggles and conflicts. Contractors, electricians, plumbers, cabinet makers, counter installers; they’re all bad at business, have bad work ethic, bad customer service, and an overall lack of common sense or courtesy. Every roadblock we encounter, I begin to analyze WHY is this happening now? While I take deep breaths until I feel lightheaded, I wonder if this mundane minutia is going to strangle me.
It’s fruitless. There is no reason; a gazillion writers and philosophers before me have already concluded that, but I am like a teenager desperate to make my own mistakes, and see the big picture, connect the dots.
I try to cope the way I know best, with words. Sadly, these words don’t help the plumber come when he promised or the faucet delivery on time or the cabinet maker not screw up.