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06 June 2019

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All my life, the religion I follow and believe in has taught me that "there must needs be opposition in all things" and that the reason we are even here has a divine purpose, there is a plan for us: to come here, receive a body, and to experience what it means to be human, to learn to be more Christlike, more Godlike, and that we are given a promise that *all* things will be for our benefit. Nowhere does it say if we are good people will will be blessed with riches or things, but that we would "prosper".
"Prosper" has more than one meaning, it also defines as "growth, health, and thriving", which for me, because *God* has promised me these things, it means I should see these gifts as being not so much earthly wealth but more as Spiritual gifts. Wisdom, kindness, understanding, compassion, mental health, and continuing to constantly learn and grow in *Him* -these all add up to L O V E. --Become as *He* is--, the more I abide in love the more I will become as God is, the more I will love *all* mankind, not just those who are exactly like me.

As I have gone through life I can look back and see where I bought into those ideas and where they have been doubted and then proven. At 61 years I can stand and witness that yes, every experience I have had -good, bad, or indifferent- has indeed been for my benefit. A scientist would tell me that "There are no mistakes, only learning." I agree, and it falls right into my spiritual faith. There are no "bad" things only lessons. (I also believe science and religion can go hand in hand)

I was a child of a mentally ill mother, my life was filled with confusion, contention, neglect, trauma, emotional and at times physical and sexual abuse, and complete insecurity. As an adult I have gone through financial difficulties, children with serious illnesses, many many car accidents, and the death of our daughter when she was only 27 and just beginning to live. Through all of those experiences I can honestly look anyone in the eye and tell you I have benefitted from all of it.

It is ridiculous to hear myself say there was any "blessing" from my daughter's death, but it will be 5 years in September, and there is not a single day that has gone by that someone doesn't feel the loss deeply, we still cry like it was yesterday often...yet, I can see the difference it has made in all of us who remain. We all have learned so much from her death and our loss.

Things we "knew" but never applied are now part of our daily routines and personalities.

And for me, the most indelible lesson has been that there is nothing more important in this existence than learning to truly love one another.

We often say we love everyone, but in reality we do all still have our prejudices. Race, Age, Religion, Disability, Stages of fitness, Cultures, Regions, Sexual Preferences, Deficits, Politics, etc. If we truly examine our personal selves we can see where we still fear loving, really loving those with whom we have zero in common or literally fear. Again, for me, as I review my lessons -my "bad things", the only thing I can take away from it is "How will you love more once you get through this?"

The woman in the video, she's right. it's about the love.

It's a thought-provoking video. Since each of us has a unique set of life experiences through which to filter our responses, it's not surprising that your reaction differs from Yann's and mine and probably each of your readers.

As I watched the video, I knew my reaction would have been different at various times in my life. There was a time when the feeling of overwhelming love she described was turned 180 degrees for me; instead of feeling a sea of love *from* others, I felt a sea of love and acceptance *of/for* others. Like Kate, the fullness of that feeling ebbed but has left an imprint on me. I go out of my way to help more, give more, consider others' circumstances more, let things go more.

I can also say that, for me, dealing with the acute is much easier than dealing with the chronic. The acute requires an all-out effort that I can get behind; the chronic is wearing and will not be denied, drawing your focus to it again and again. I appreciate and agree with Yann's viewpoint of learning and growing from all of life's circumstances. I need a lot of grace and am grateful every day for the One who loves and accepts me through it all.

The bottom line for me is Love and Grace, both in abundance.

I think there is an element of randomness to many things in life. Often, there's just not a reason for why things happen (as opposed to events being caused). The cards in your post are a good metaphor for randomness. The universe, the stars, galaxies, planets and magnetic fields are not concerned with day to day happenings on this earth.

The best defense we've got is our individual empathy for other people, animals, our environment and our planet; that is our humanity.

Not sure about "everything happens for a reason." I believe life continues to evolve moment by moment. Good things and bad things happen. However, when you talk about life and death moments, that's different than giving a smile and receiving a smile back.

There are so many lessons in life and the highest is to stay faithful to God no matter what happens. Enjoy your day!

As Diogenes observes, randomness.

I've found comfort in the now-classic book When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

I watched the video and was touched by her voice and tears as well as by her talk. When she said "But I have a son." in response to her diagnosis, I knew what she was feeling. I was nearly in a car accident once and my thought also was "But I have a son." I couldn't be in a car accident because he needed me. He really needed me at his age then.

I think the difference between your and Yann's take on rewards for good acts is the depth of what you're talking about. Yes, small acts have their natural rewards, but that has nothing to do with big bad things happening to good people. I think it's luck (or bad luck) and coincidence and the truth is that most bad things happen pretty randomly. People want to make sense of it all so that they might navigate away from misfortune, but I think it's all pretty random.

This is such a complex topic ….because I do believe in creating a ripple that when you toss the stone in the water the ripple happens and continues until it reaches another shore and then ripples back --that could be a positive or a negative action...the effects of that ripple on the people it passes by, or over, or into reflects the type of action, but does that ripple affect me....the creator of the ripple- I wrestle with this all the time and have said the exact same words in this post's heading to my sister.... that we have been taught a lie-- made to believe that a good kind act will be returned in kind....I don't think this is so I think DOING THE RIGHT THING... LIVING WITH COMPASSION LOVE AND GENEROSITY SHOULD BE FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF THE SAID ACTION BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING not because some tally is being kept or some ledger being filled out but being good for good's sake-and then I think to myself that we are energy and like attracts like love begets love...but we only need to see all the innocents that are harmed or the workers in war torn areas getting in harms way....there are laws of science and physics which I agree go hand in hand with religion so weights and balances-- karma -- see it is a circular dance I do with myself...but I have really come to believe doing good --being good should be BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT WAY TO BE-not because we stand to get some benefit or because someone is watching us-- all this being said I am a practicing Catholic and with all my heart my soul my being believe that my prayers are heard and answered -maybe not the way I want-I work on my relationship with OUR FATHER every day I praise HIM I bless HIM and Glorify HIM and I talk to HIM constantly-I question HIM too WHY ...about everything- I am brought to tears sometimes because the thought of his VASTNESS HIS AWESOMENESS HIS LOVE FOR ALL HE CREATED is beyond comprehension my finite mind cannot conceive of it....has my life been my plan NOPE am I angry ...at times.. sad- yes definitely at times... fearful yes-- but I am joyful truly I am-I think now this is just my opinion there is something.. a softness a light or as Kate Bowler said LOVE in people that believe in something other than the here and the now- I want to always be evolving into someone better --doing the right thing loving my neighbor as myself and feel very blessed to have every waking minute to do better and be better-I fail more than I succeed and fall very easily into the comparison game...the true thief of joy - we are all on different courses, but paths cross for reasons and as in the previous posts there are serendipitous events where GOD'S hands are moving the pieces...we just have to pay attention-

... oui très complexe .... et très très bien écris Corey et Yann! ...pour moi, la vie mas appris, nous sommes 100% responsable, pour nos pensées , par la suite pour nos actions etc. de gérer ce que nous " arrive", nous laisse grandir....chaque instant, tout les jours, et toujours... et oui, c'est pas toujours agréable... c'est pourquoi: célébrons la vie! et voyons la beauté dedans...chaudement Tina , qui s´éntrâine ....:-)))

I recommend this book by Rabbi Harold Kushner to everyone, the book is written with so much compassion, empathy & how he dealt with his daughter's illness & subsequent death. Rabbi Kushner said the experience made him a better Rabbi.
It is a book that will stay with me forever.

I am not a fan of the prosperity gospel and believe it is a way to make the leaders of this “gospel” rich.
I’d surmise that Yann has not experienced great loss as you have. Some people are lucky to never experience the
randomness of great loss. My French neighbor and I have had these types of conversations in the past. She lost her daughter at the age of 21 on Christmas
Eve and her husband a few years later. Friends have told her life is about choices and she and I vehemently disagree. You can choose to smile at someone or not. But When you loose
a loved one there is no choice involved. So in the general sense we may decide how we choose to respond to what life deals us, but when it comes to the pain and
Randomness of loss there is no “choosing”. I don’t believe because I am good only good things will happen to me nor do I believe every bad thing is something to learn from. I do agree
with her that every experience imprints on you. I also agree that life encompasses both great beauty and great pain. I hope time with her son will be granted.

Hi Corey,
I am a believer in the triune God. I believe we are here for a reason and for a short time. Our days are numbered and only God knows when we will be called home. I was 16 when my boyfriend was killed in a car accident. Since that time I have lost several friends in their 20's and 30's to various types of cancer, grandparents and parents to other medical conditions. I am now 67 and just three years ago on Easter Sunday we lost our son a week before his 33rd birthday. He had a heart condition that we knew nothing about. A month after that, our niece also passed away, just a week before her 33rd birthday with a blood clot. God has sustained us and been by our side the whole way through this process. We had a celebration of life service for our son that was so special. It was a joyful celebration that could only come about because God was in our midst. We saw and visited with people that were from all walks of our life as well as our son's. Some who we hadn't seen in over 30 years. It was incredible and just how I imagine what heaven will be like when we get there. from this experience we have become friends with several of his co-workers and college friends. I doubt that this would have been the case otherwise. God has shown His mercy through this time and we have been blessed in incredible ways that I really can only say is a "God thing." Yes, we miss Christopher and our niece, not a day goes by that I don't find myself saying "Christopher would have loved to have seen this or that or experienced this or that." God has placed us on different paths and our journey is uniquely ours. God is in control and things happen for reasons that we can't always comprehend until we get to the other side. I am amazed at the peacefulness and calmness that we have been surrounded in since this happened. It definitely surpasses understanding.

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