This week, there was a tragic bombing incident during the Boston marathon.
3 people died and 170 people were injured.
People all over the country, and maybe all over the world were shocked and devastated.
I however was not sad at all. Not because I’m not compassionate. I always feel for people whose life experiences overwhelm their emotions. But I also believe there’s a larger order to things than the human mind can conceive of.
I believe most of the pain caused by tragic events such as this one comes from us being jolted into the realization that we are not in control. This is a very painful thing to come to terms with. Why wasn’t it prevented? What could have stopped it? These are the questions that consume our painful experiences.
But what if pain is a part of evolution? What if pain is sometimes a part of our purpose in life?
When people die, we often see it as a tragedy. This is a clear sign of how we view death as an end or a horrific event. But what if someone’s death or hurt or pain, no matter how tragic it appears to our human minds, is part of their life’s purpose?
Our life purpose is what guides us through life. Even if we resist. Even if we don’t consciously know what our life purpose is. It is always there. Always inside of us. We can’t escape it.
And sometimes, loosing an arm, like Bethany Hamilton or losing a life, like Jesus Christ or Martin Luther King, is a part of that purpose.
Everyone’s life purpose doesn’t look like Oprah. Sometimes, it looks like Mother Teresa. Sometimes it looks like suffering, tragedy, and pain. We must have a grander vision to see it.
I remember discussing Bethany Hamilton’s story with some family members. My hubby was saying what a beautiful story it was and how lucky she was to experience all she has experienced. One of our family members was horrified. She said, “But she lost her arm. I’m sure she would give it all back just to have her arm again.” I was stunned. I don’t know Bethany Hamilton personally, but I bet she’s made peace with her experience. And it seems she’s come to a greater understanding of herself and the world because of her supposed tragedy. And isn’t that the purpose of life?
Somehow, we’ve deceived ourselves into believing the purpose of life is to live as comfortably as possible with minimum surprises, pain, or discomfort. The more we can minimize suffering, the better life is. Excuse me. But this is BS. We suffer anyway. Then, we suffer because we’re suffering.
Pain and struggle help us grow. It opens our eyes to new realities. It broadens our understanding of ourselves and our world and hopefully, if we’re open, our God. This is the purpose of life.
So don’t always regret pain and immediately search for ways it could have been prevented. Feel it. Be compassionate. But realize life is bigger than our perceptions. There are reasons beyond our reasons.
If we look hard enough, with open eyes and an open mind, we may see the beauty in tragic experiences.
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