I am still Homeschool Atheist Momma!
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I have to admit that this one is likely to elicit an eye roll from me. The insipid, treacly way that this is generally spoken aloud just makes my teeth itch. The suggestion that someone somewhere has an actual plan for you and that, somehow, all of the crap that you are going through is a part of that unfathomable plan. It suggests Daddy is watching out for you and all of the mess of your life is preparing you for something grand.
I know that sometimes we just say things like this because we have run out of ways to comfort people who are struggling in their lives. I get it that we generally say this in order to let a person know that the pain, loss, misery that they are experiencing will benefit them in some way. But I call bullshit.
Bad things happen. Many many bad things are completely random and totally unfair. There is no luck, good or bad, happening. (Knock on wood.) Some life circumstances are the result of bad decision making, some are unfair starting points in life, some are truly horrific accidents. No where in these circumstances can one find a Grand Plan or a real reason for the bad stuff.
I'm sorry because it would be lovely if there really was a true good force in the universe leading each and every one of us through the dark times, handing things out as lessons, and then leading each of us into the lovely light of Our Future Happy Life. But we all know that this isn't true. Every one of us can name a dozen people who have lived very unhappy, unhealthy, unpleasant lives with no silver lining at the end.
Even as I write this I am aware of how annoyed I am when a person offers this statement to another person. It allows people who live with negative patterns in life to continue those patterns. It allows the unexamined life. It allows people to live with blinders on and to ignore growth areas...because this misery is all for a reason. It encourages powerlessness and victimization. It suggests that inactivity is OK.
I can guarantee you that the only times that I ever found real comfort and genuine growth in my life is when I recognized the need for it and moved forward, on my own side. Again and again.
There is no reason. There is only moving forward with deliberate choice and action. There is figuring out your thought/behavioral patterns that allow bad things to continue. There is only random painful events that require strength, love, and time. There is here and there is now.
I would never ever suggest that another human being deserves the bad stuff; nor would I suggest that the great future that awaits you will make all of this pain make sense. That is bollocks. I admit that this makes it much harder to truly be there for someone who is suffering. I admit that tossing this meaningless statement out into the trash leaves your pockets empty of useless tools. But it also means that we no longer kid ourselves.
And that means being proactive, honest, and deliberate.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: Science is Your God
Or you may enjoy reading: Atheists Can Not Experience True Joy
Or try this one: The Big Question: Death