by VJ Miller, Sr.
Reader Discretion is Advised
Probably the most overused and abused cliché; the catch-all advice of the clueless. “Everything happens for a reason…” I am so fed up with hearing those words when the speaker(s) can’t or won’t search for a better phrase to use.
What does this cliché do?
It lets you off the hook when the listener is seeking some sort of answer or measure of comfort from their woes.
Ask yourself before you speak;
Do these words…
- Comfort the couple who just lost their child after a multi-year long struggle with Cancer or some other debilitating affliction?
- Assist any member of a car crash who survived while the rest of the family/friends were killed?
- Comfort the family of anyone: killed in a shooting spree in some theater, in a school, or on the street?
- Help someone to understand why their spouse was unfaithful and ran off with their best friend or boss or someone they met on the internet?
- Help someone understand why the competition got the job while they worked their ass off to prove they were worthy?
- Ease anyone’s tragedy from War or why it happens in the first place?
…or any one of millions of scenarios?
The answer is a resounding NO! It frees you of any responsibility in help the victim find some way to cope with their problem or where they might find the answer to it.
What does this cliché actually mean?
Most have no idea what the words reflect; they just throw it out there because it is easy and effortless. To me it means several things…
- I don’t care enough about you or your problem to get involved.
- It’s all God’s fault; go ask him why? I’m sure any Atheist or Agnostic would love to hear someone say this to them.
- I’m too lazy to try to think of an answer or am so ignorant I don’t know how to think.
- My disinterest in this knows no bounds.
- And most of all; it’s an easy way to end a conversation and get the person to stop talking about their problems and listen to yours.
Now, truthfully, many very well-meaning people are simply at a loss for words and this is the only thing that comes to mind. I just wish they would think before they utter these words if they believe they will really comfort anyone. Better to say, “I don’t have the answer right now but I’d be willing to help you search for it.” And if that is not your intent then just keep your mouth shut or walk away or better yet, simply sit and listen; don’t be the false friend that no one needs.
This is why I detest this cliché and if I should ever hear it addressed to anyone in earshot I may be prompted, and with prejudice, to go to that person and stomp on their toes. And when they ask “Why?” I’ll say, “ Everything happens for a reason. I know why… do you?”
The above statements are indeed a little harsh, not to intimidate or upset, but to inspire you to think about what you say in any given situation. Words once said can never be forgotten so it pays dividends when you consider what you say before you say them.
And that’s my opinion.