A person I spent a lot of time with in Key West told me that she believes that everything happens for a reason. Yup, there was a time a while back when I ascribed to that theory. It’s a convenient one which alleviates any long running issues with culpability, both from a personal and a spiritual/religious nature.* Remember the book The Celestine Prophecy? The central theme to the book was that there were no coincidences; everything happened for a reason. But I don’t believe it anymore. I don’t buy it mostly because I’m absolutely incapable of understanding why the hell this happened. Why the hell was our perfect little world torn apart like this? I just can’t imagine an answer that makes any sense.
* I can hear all kinds of guffaws as I type. “What do you mean it alleviates issues with culpability?” Really? How many times have you or someone close to you answered life’s brutal salvos with the phrase “Well, everything happens for a reason” or maybe “God has his/her reasons. We just don’t understand.” We use this because sometimes there’s just nothing else to say. It’s clean, quick, and hard to argue with. (And, please, keep your Bible quotes to yourself. You will just be reinforcing my point.)
So here’s my theory on life and our situation. It’s a bit far out there so you’ve been warned if you are offended. My theory is that we are put on this Earth for a mission, maybe even one we choose before we are born. Dunno. Don’t remember that far back myself. But, one thing I’m clear on is that Maggie was put on this Earth to cook meals for me. Of course, she was never very good at that so instead she busied her time with other things – MANY other things. While she was working on learning to cook for me, something went wrong. The machine (her body) broke down (cancer) in a way that was not part of The Plan. In computer-speak, something went wrong with the hardware. Basically, her body hiccupped and that was that. No accomplishing her mission. No passing go. No collecting $100. It wasn’t part of The Plan. In fact, it actually screwed up a perfectly good plan, a plan we were both pretty happy with. But our happiness isn’t and never was the point. The point was the mission her soul chose… which was, of course, to cook for me.
Now, you’d be wise to counter with “Maybe her mission was to go through all this cancer crap.” But I just can’t understand what lessons she would need to learn that this mess provided. Maybe I’m just waaaaaaay too stuck in my own need-to-learn lessons to see clearly. Or maybe her mission was to go through all this cancer crap so that I would go through all this cancer crap. Whoa, yikes! NOW we are getting deep. Way too deep for me. I’m out (for now.)
10 thoughts on “And We Learned…?”
So, why cook specifically? Why not clean for you? Or do laundry? Two other things she wasn’t the best at.
Hey, she chose her mission! I was jes’ waitin’ for her to master it. Still waitin’. 😉
Funny you should mention laundry, though. I never minded doing laundry. I just hate folding. She didn’t mind folding (although the process usually turned out more Tom Sawyer-y than I’d prefer.) For that task (and many others), we were pretty nicely matched.
Cleaning, on the other hand, is not particularly either of our strengths.
I found your blog a few months ago while trying to look up something about md anderson. My husband died, at home, just over four weeks ago from Hodgkins (ironically, the most curable cancer). He had been fighting with some successes and some failures on a rather continual basis for nearly six years. And, while he hadn’t been, well, not sick in some time, his death came unexpectedly and not without a fight. We are/were both 31 now, and our hopes and dreams and plans were many of yours.
I just wanted to say “Thank you.” While I know many people who have suffered losses, I don’t know anyone who has suffered one similar, and you have. Being able to read your thoughts and feelings (some of which are similar and some of which are very different than mine) in facing a very similar situation of both loss of a – your – person and also loss of huge potential has both helped and hurt me but mostly makes me feel better to just know that someone like you – like me – is out there, like “I can do it if you can do it.”
I have never been terribly religious, but I do – or used to – consider myself relatively spiritual, but I have been having a really hard time with God as of late. I rather agree with you on the “something just went wrong” theory, but you seem pretty set on the theory that we are all here for a “mission.” I am questioning that – and everything – right now. What if your purpose was to help her through all that (or mine to help him through)? I don’t necessarily believe that, and I would do it all over again while fighting for a different outcome all the same, but it is a difficult thing to think about. Does believing in purpose and reason make you faithful or insane? I’m starting to believe that they are not so different, and maybe that’s not a bad thing… or maybe it is.
My thoughts are with you, Joslyn. Thank you so much for sharing your story!
I was researching for microbiology and stumbled upon this site. It is very ironic because I just lost my mother at 71 on July 30th due to stage 4 pancreas cancer. Her only symptom for months was she felt full. She finally went to the doctor and he did a ct scan and discovered a small tumor on her bile duct and 3 spots on her liver last year on June 13th 2008. She lived and died pain free did not lose weight and went about her daily activities up until a week prior to her death when she slowed down and we did not understand why, then we found out the tumor took over her liver from the inside. She always told the doctors “I guess I have cancer because you tell me I do” She always said she felt fine but I noticed the chemo made her have a little less energy. However, she sounded upbeat on the phone and always had humor and some of her parting words were of humorous nature. She was catholic and prayed her rosary everyday for a cure if it is to be Gods will. She just basically went to sleep and slipped away. I am disappointed that she did not get to have gene therapy which is to be a great break through for treating cancer. On a positive note my youngest brother and I got close together again and now we are in the process of having my father move here to Dallas part of the time and near my brother in PA the other half of his time so that he can enjoy his grandchildren. I will pray for you and your family. You might want to look into other things that work well with chemo drugs to help give energy such as Resveratrol it comes in a pure form on a website only because what is sold in whole food stores has other junk in it. If you are intersted in the website I will get it off my pc at work.
It is pretty much impossible for us as finite beigns to grasp what it means to be infinite. That is what the universe is. And in the infinte realm of possibilites and the barely controlled chaos we exist in, the randomness with which life exists and is taken away has no rhyme or reason. Those whould try to argue that we as humans have some kind of pre-arranged destiny or that our feeble energy somehow affects the universe completely and utterly overstate our importance. Does this attitude stem from arrogance or fear of the unknown? Perhaps a bit of both.
Deep enough for you?
Perhaps it’s not always what we learn… but the example we set. You didn’t run away. You stood by Maggie, spit in cancer’s eye and shared the knowledge of the experience. Be proud… a lot of people learned that you’re a good man.
Um, did everyone read the part about Maggie’s mission being to cook for Chris? I think the responses are taking the mission theory a little too seriously. Chris, kudos on another post that has some humor mixed with serious questions about life, sprinkled with some WTF?
“everything happens for a reason” is one of the most annoying cop-outs that I always hear, and I’m glad you seem to feel the same way.
Of COURSE everything happens for a “reason”, but it never addresses the person’s point who needs guidance or just a friendly ear. Ugh, silence would be better than that terrible platitude.
Anyway, sorry to rail on a pet peeve here.
Rail all you’d like, Ian. We are of like mind on the value of this little gem of a phrase.