It Happens For A Reason

Everything happens for a reason.


If you have had any difficult life event (or series of events like we have, living with Juvenile Arthritis) you are bound to hear this phrase.

Some people (like me) embrace it, but others, like a few of my dear friends in the JA community  hate it. For them it is absolutely abrasive to assume that some of the worst things that could ever happen in their family have some “divine” purpose. It is difficult to think that these bad things are actually a means to a greater good that we just can’t see yet.

While I respect that perspective (and even mentioned it in my what not to say post) I disagree. I DO believe that things happen for a reason, and even if they don’t, some of the “bad” or “not so great” things that happen result in something that IS worthwhile, even if you can’t see it at the time.

Take something small, like the drive I recently made this week. I was pressured to travel nearly 20 hours in one day to get my kids from the Fiesta Bowl they attended with their dad in Phoenix back to a hospital clinic that couldn’t be rescheduled in Illinois. That didn’t feel like a good set of circumstances. I was tired, I was pressured, and the task was overwhelming. With every 100 miles that passed, I would recalculate in my head if I thought we would make it back on time. I was wishing that I had at least one more night in between so that I could have broken things up a little, taken a little more time, and not been in such a mad rush.

But I made it. I was beat, but accomplished. We got to clinic, then got home. Then I took a nap and woke up to this:


 There was a massive snowstorm that had passed through just a day before we came back. The roads were clear on my entire drive, and we had no weather whatsoever. Shortly after I came home, this is what was on top of the 4-6 inches or so that was already on the ground.

And it has been snowing non-stop ever since.

The wind has been blowing, and generally it’s pretty miserable. Tomorrow they don’t expect us to climb out of negative temperatures… not the best (or safest) weather for making a road trip. If I hadn’t been pushed to make the drive in one shot (all 20 hours,) I definitely would have been caught, dead tired on the last leg of the trip in  a massive winter storm.

Kind of renews my faith that everything happens for a reason. What really felt pretty cruddy at the time, was actually a better alternative than the situation that would have existed if I had done it “my” way.

Even if everything doesn’t happen for a reason, thinking that it does helps keep me from going crazy. It helps me to stay positive, it helps me to keep a good attitude, even when it is tempting to let myself think differently.

It would be easy for me to resent that my kids have an incurable, painful disease…and truth be told, I would never, ever choose that for them.


If we did not have Juvenile Arthritis in our lives, we would have never crossed paths with some amazing people who are some of our very best friends now. Seriously. There are people in our lives now that are a direct result of my kids having JA, that we never ever would have had a chance to know. People who are so close to our family, that we truly couldn’t imagine life without them now. There’s a reason.

My kids would have a very different perspective on life, had they been “normal” children. Because of their difficulties, they are empathetic in a way that cannot be taught. They are appreciative of small things that many adults don’t even recognize until well into middle age. They savor life more, and appreciate “well” days that others just take for granted. How valuable for them to learn these lessons early!  What a huge difference this will make in their ability to be happy despite their circumstances all through their life…. that would be another “reason” if you ask me.

My older son would also say that being ill netted him playoff tickets to both the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks Stanley Cup Quarterfinals…so yeah, there have been a few perks here and there too. So maybe that last one isn’t a “reason” but its definitely a silver lining that wouldn’t have happened otherwise!

If I allow myself to believe, I mean REALLY believe from the bottom of my heart and every fiber of my being that all these things (even the bad ones) happen for a reason, then I realize that I find things to be grateful for, that I can wrap my mind around it better, and that it is easier to cope, period.

Which camp are you in? Do you believe everything happens for a reason?

Related posts:


  1. I completely agree. Although I don’t like it sometimes, things do happen for a reason – to make you a better person, to teach a lesson, to give or receive a gift. Even the bad stuff. When something really crappy happens I do have to ask myself why it happened, what good come out of this? Sometimes you don’t see it until well after the event, but you can always find a reason
    Karen recently posted…What Happened to the 40 Hour Work Week?My Profile

    • Karen, you are SO right. You don’t have to like it. I think that is a common misperception when I say everything happens for a reason to the folks in the groaners camp. Just because I think there was a purpose in it, doesn’t mean I have to like going through it at the time. I like to think of the coal to diamond analogy… when a piece of coal is subjected to intense heat and pressure, then it becomes a diamond. The end result is fantastic, but if I were the lump of coal, I don’t think the transformation would be pleasant at all. Knowing that there is a purpose, plan, or some better end result makes going through the “yuck” a little more bearable.

  2. First I just want to mention I am in the midst of reading your book. As I’ve read along I have found myself nodding my head in agreement to so many stories you tell and things you have explained as I have an 8 year old with Polyarticular JIA. The book has been both informative and comforting in knowing there are other families who understand our worries and struggles. Thank you so much for writing this book to help others as they go through all the ups and downs of Arthritis. I found your blog as a result of the book too and have gone back to read many entries.

    Truthfully, before my daughter was diagnosed three years ago I didn’t give much thought to “things happening for a reason.” However, now I do believe there are reasons behind so many things. I, of course, wish my daughter didn’t have to suffer from arthritis at all. But you know what . . .it has taught our family to grow and be stronger and face some fears. I was never one for public speaking. The very thought of it horrified me. I have now spoken at a few fundraisers and it doesn’t even really make me nervous anymore. I know how important it is to fight this disease and raise awareness so I come out of my comfort zone and I speak up. My daughter has also done some public speaking through the Arthritis Foundation and what a great skill for her to learn at such a young age. Since my daughter was diagnosed we started fundraising through our local Arthritis Walk. We have raised a lot of money and I know we are making a difference for future generations by doing our part to raise money for research and other important programs. Do I wish my daughter didn’t have this awful disease? Yes! But she does and I think one of the reasons is because we are helping to make things better for the kids of tomorrow. There are so many little things I notice now too and discover a reason even if not right away.

    • Thank you Wendy! It’s so nice to hear that you are enjoying and finding comfort in the book. As a first time author, I wasn’t really sure if I could do it, and if I could help people the way I hoped to. When I get a comment like yours, it makes all that hard work worth it!

      I agree with you on not thinking too hard about the “things happening for a reason” stance until my kids got sick. Oh, it crossed my mind every now and again if I was facing a great challenge, but dealing with the whole JA thing was a whole different experience…the challenges never stopped. One thing would get “fixed” and then something even more serious would pop up in its place. We could never catch a break. I had to make sense of it somehow, or just go insane.

      But then I did what you did. I saw the good in the situation (the friends we had made, the opportunities we had been given as a result) AND we made the situation better, despite the circumstances. Like you, we started raising funds for research, becoming advocates, and even lobbying in Washington DC! Our eyes are more open now, in fact, we sometimes joke about it being like life in “The Matrix” and JA was the catalyst to our becoming the heroic Keanu Reeves…

      Funny the things you start thinking about when you are homebound for too long, right? Another “perk” of dealing with JA!

Leave a Comment: