The purpose of stories

Do you think things happen for a purpose?

I do. And sometimes I wonder if that’s just because I’m left handed, and because I like finding patterns in things, and I know that other people often see the world completely differently to the way that I do, and that’s fine, but I still think that things happen for a purpose. And I find that when I can’t see that purpose, or lose faith that there IS a purpose, then I get stressed.

I got stressed when my boy was in hospital the other day, and not just because my boy was in hospital. I was stressed because it made no sense to me. If I believe God loves me, that He cares about my family, and bad stuff happens, where’s the purpose in that? Call me an over-thinker – after all, it was an asthma attack that would be labeled as mild compared to the episodes that some have gone through – but it made me question still. It made me think about all the parents in hospitals because their children have rampant leukemia, or are limbless, severely handicapped, on life-support, you know. I can’t answer for those parents, or speak for them, I can only speak for myself.

I found the purpose in my son’s hospitalization. It gave me three days to spend in a room with my middle child, my quiet child, my the-most-different-to-me child; the child I don’t want to grow up feeling like the overlooked or under-mothered child. Difficult though that time was for many reasons, that bit I loved. We’ve decided we need to do it again (without the hospitalization, that is) once a month. Next time it’ll be MacDonalds and a movie, just him and me.

The other day the battery in my car’s beeper-unlocky-thing died. It was pretty bad. It’s especially bad because out of the two sets of keys we had for that car one had broken off after a door-slamming incident (no joke, the key got caught in the door and snapped in half!) and the other had worn the rubber off all the little buttons so you couldn’t actually work the controls without having fingers the size of a two year old. Or, as we discovered, a small bit of stick. Suddenly I was reduced to the ignominy of carrying around two dysfunctional keys and a small stick to work them with. And then the catch that holds the boot closed (or, if you’re American, the trunk closed) stopped working. Like. I. Needed. That.

I’d booked a locksmith to fix the key thing for me finally – something we could afford to do now that we had a bit of extra money around. I tossed it up a bit, then cancelled him so I could take the car to the mechanics and get the boot looked at. Like. I. Needed. That.

Turns out I needed that. Turns out I needed that boot-needs-fixing-take-it-to-the-mechanics very much indeed. The boot problem didn’t take much, and cost me hardly anything (in mechanical terms) to fix, AND when our wonderful mechanic looked at our crazy key situation and the pathetic stick I handed him (Yes, I forgot I could key-lock the door. I carried a stick) and apologized because I’d had to choose him over the locksmith he looked at me and said “you know, I think I can fix that”. And he did. My wonderful mechanic told me all about how it worked, undid a few screws, did a bit of yada yada practical magic and bingo. My key works, and it saved me $150 at the locksmith. I see the purpose in the stuck boot.

Because of this, especially because of that stupid stuck boot, I’m believing that there’s a purpose for other stuff in my life too, the deeper stuff, the ugly parts of my story, sometimes the stories that haven’t got to the ending yet. That purpose probably isn’t for me, and it’s probably not going to save me money or help me buy groceries this week, but I believe that for someone, someday, somewhere, there will be a reason. I have been the one who benefited from other people’s stories in the past, and I’m grateful beyond belief for those times, for those stories. That is why, though sometimes it feels strange, and sometimes I don’t understand, and sometimes I go out on a limb with nothing more than a prayer and a gut feeling, I share my own.

How about you? Do you believe things happen for a purpose, or do you struggle with the idea? Do you think having a purpose helps in our suffering? Do you find it hard to believe if you can’t yet see that purpose?


7 thoughts on “The purpose of stories

  1. Unfortunately we can’t see the big picture and that everything works out for our best – but God can see the big picture, so most of the time, when I can’t make sense of stuff, I have to trust that He can. 🙂

  2. I absolutely think things happen for a purpose or reason! If I think back over what’s happened to me in my life, I am amazed at the unfolding. But yes, I do become impatient when I don’t know why right away…unfold! Unfold! 🙂

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