Have you ever heard anyone say, in explanation for some plight that had befallen them, "Everything happens for a reason"? I have. They are always right, because everything does happen for a reason. Sometimes the reason is that you've made choices to land yourself in a bad situation. And sometimes the reason is beyond control or comprehension.

I once knew someone who slept through class and flunked out of school. He shook his head, dumbfounded at his terrible "luck", and said, "Everything happens for a reason." The implication was clear: he was not responsible for the failure and he expected God to show him the right path to success since studying and paying attention in very expensive graduate school were obviously not part of the plan.

It took my husband and I seven years to have children, and even then, at the very moment of conception, there were six other people in the room. In vitro fertilization is like that. I remember well-meaning individuals who, learning of our "plight", would pat me on the arm and spout the same empty platitude: Everything happens for a reason.

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