This I Believe

Robert - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 12, 2006

After every unexpected event, whether tragic or simply inconveniencing, the prevailing question is always “why?” As far back as I can remember, after every disastrous event someone is always asking that question of society, of himself, of God: people always demand to know “why.”

I believe everything happens for a reason.

Not a popular belief, mind you. I believe in God, and I believe that He teaches His lessons to humanity in mysterious ways. What I see makes me believe that events frequently have unforeseen aftereffects, and these aftereffects are the lessons that we need to learn as a society.

Like many Americans who do not live near the Gulf Coast, I watched the devastation of Hurricane Katrina unfold on television. The entire time I was wondering how something like this could happen, why God would allow such pain and suffering. As the aftermath unfolded, I could see that, even here in Kansas, in the middle of the country, these events touched many who were not directly related to the events on the coast.

People donated food and water, and then volunteered their time to help load these necessities into trucks. As I volunteered at a local store to help load these precious materials, I saw diversity and generosity at levels that I would have never expected. While the events of Katrina destroyed millions of people’s livelihoods, the hurricane and its aftermath brought together a diverse and materialistic nation and compelled them give their time and money in order to alleviate another’s suffering.

I held this belief before the events of Katrina unfolded, but it was reshaped as I loaded water on to a truck on hot September day following the hurricane. Before I had only considered minor events in a single person’s life, I had not considered national events as happening for a reason. As I looked at the events taking place over the next year, I saw that after each something better arose out of it, just like after Katrina. Everything indeed happened for a reason, or at least a reason I could surmise.