It’s not uncommon for people who meet me and learn of Calvin’s hardships to say, “everything happens for a reason.” I usually try hard to suppress my disdain for what I believe to be an erroneous, though well-intentioned, theory. My response is simply to say that I don’t regard the premise to be true, but rather, that I to choose to construct meaningful outcomes from life’s experiences, much like choosing to see the glass half full instead of half empty.
Another phrase I have heard often over the years is, “life’s not fair”. I never really cared for this assumption either. It has always seemed to me—even as a child—that life is neither fair nor unfair. Life just is.
Some may hold fast to these beliefs to find solace in the presence of suffering, to somehow understand why suffering occurs at all, and to make sense of something so utterly senseless as a profoundly ill and debilitated child. And although I myself may wonder why Calvin is so afflicted—at the same time wishing he were not— I find no comfort in the idea that some greater purpose has been designed that requires it of him. Rather, the knowledge and conveyance of this belief, especially by those who do not know what it is to care for a child with such extensive disorders, honestly turns my stomach.
I have no need for that kind of solace. I need only to be there for Calvin and to put all of my effort into finding a way to lessen or stop his suffering. I could choose to wallow in self-pity over my sick child while trying to console myself with some feeble, perverse notion in an attempt to put it all into some sort of context that explains it away and makes it okay. Instead, I choose to seek out and underscore all of the incredible things that I experience because of Calvin, and simply be content to know that he is who he is, not owing to some deliberate plan. And since life just is—which is okay by me—and while I am here, I will make the most of it as it keeps coming my way.