‘Everything happens for a reason.’ We like to use these words a lot. Mostly, I find, it is because they are words filled with hope and promise where there is despair. I reckon we all need that to keep us going and motivated in life. But do we actually believe them? Do we stop to reflect and meditate upon them? If you had uttered these words to me some twenty odd years ago I would’ve told you that it was all just some BS invented as an excuse for life to get away with being unfair! But after having experienced what I’ve experienced and endured what I’ve endured, I could be excused for coming to the conclusion that everything does indeed happen for a reason.

No matter what you’re going through, whether big or small, I genuinely subscribe to the notion that there is a Divine purpose for it. I have a friend whose stepmother used to mistreat her, she contemplated suicide. She could not see a reason to carry on living. A purpose for her life. But, somehow she got past that and later in life, this friend got to appreciate the challenges that she faced had growing up. They gave her resilience to handle life’s pressures and challenges. The work her step-mother used to pile on her had prepared her for life. For hard work. Now she is able to work her way around life’s busy schedules and with such ease and with gratitude. When someone tries to mistreat her now, she knows that all that does is to strengthen her and give her more courage. She rises above it and carries on with her life. So was it bad that her step-mother mistreated her? Of course, it was. But, had she not gone through all that, she would not be the kind of person that she is today.

Another seemingly minor example is that of my primary school teacher who was very strict and tough on us. She used to pinch us and beat us up when we got our timetables wrong. I remember having nightmares about learning my timetables. She made sure we could recite them in our sleep for Pete’s sake. And she wasn’t just tough in Maths; in other subjects too. The handwriting had to be perfect and you could not afford to get a spelling wrong. You were inspected from head to toe each morning before entering class.Was that so bad? Probably the intention was not. But, it felt horrible at the time. Now, years later, I find myself appreciating this very teacher for being this tough on us. Her methods, though not the best, taught me to be diligent, hardworking and to take care of my appearance. She passed on some standards that I am grateful for to this day.

My favourite example of things happening for a reason has to be my first crush. He was the cliché tall, dark and handsome. No other boy came even close and every girl in school wanted him. I remember daydreaming as I watched him play soccer. His ripply muscles and toned legs. In my mind, he was going to walk over to me one day and claim me. We were going to get married and walk off into the sunset together. I had it all figured out. The house, the car, our two and a half kids, the whole nine yards. Lo, and behold he did notice me one day. He even went as far as asking me out but to cut the long story short, he later dropped me like a hot potato! Only a week later was I to see him with another girl and she was, dare I say it, prettier than me. Boy did that hurt. I cried myself to sleep for days. At home, I had to tell them I was on a diet. Now years later, all I can say is I had a lucky escape. He hasn’t turned out to be the person I envisioned then and I have him to thank for all the other heartbreaks that were to follow in my life for I fully appreciated the fact that not everyone you like is right for you in the end. I learnt to draw strength from my heartbreak and to move on with dignity. So, if anyone ever breaks your heart or disappoints you for some reason, understand that not everyone you meet is meant to remain in your life. Some people cross our paths but only for a season. Perhaps to teach us lessons, some to draw our attention to the qualities that we find unappealing and some to make us wiser.

Then there was the job that I had my eye on soon after I had finished high school? As far as I was concerned there was no other job for me. Being a sales lady in Nyore Nyore Zimbabwe furnishers was the job to have. Not only would it give me the quick buck I needed for a perm and to buy myself some high heels which were in at the time, it also meant I could spend time in town, closer to fashion, cafes, restaurants and the cinema. I cursed when that Indian manager turned me away, citing my lack of experience. How dare he? My dream of becoming prettier and trendier had been shattered. I no longer stood a chance to compete with the girl who had taken Mr tall, dark and handsome away from me. Looking back now, I can’t help but feel gratitude towards that Indian manager and all the other managers who were to turn me away later as I scuttled from shop to shop in my little town of Chinhoyi searching for a job. There is never a doubt in my mind that had I gotten what I wanted at the time, I would’ve lived in absolute contentment. The reason being that I hadn’t had any real exposure to life. My imagination, goals and ambitions stretched as far as what went on around me, what I saw and experienced at the time. Now, having grown and broaden my horizons, I can be excused for coming to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason.

And coming to my most painful experience of all. An experience I’m still struggling to come to terms with it to this very day. He was the most ‘beautiful’ man I’d ever known. Funny, kind and caring, as well as romantic. I was his princess and he showed it through words and actions. He married me and we had a beautiful baby daughter. A year and some months later, during one fine morning, I got the eeriest of feelings. My heart began pounding. Something inside of me was stirring havoc for some reason. It turned out my husband; the father of my child was breathing his last breath during those very moments. He was snatched away from me just like that. Those who’ve read my book A LifeSteered will remember this bit too. So does everything happen for a reason in this case?

There are some examples that still hurt to this day. But I believe all that I went through has shaped me and made me the kind of person I am today – kind, resilient and determined. I’ve simply learnt to play the cards that I’m dealt by life. Life will throw us challenges and test us to the core. But what’s important is how we deal with those challenges. How we let them define us.

In this blog, you will notice that I have deliberately ignored the good examples. Those too happen for a reason. But I want to encourage those who may be going through a bad season in their life right now. If you’re like me then you better start believing that all that you’re going through is for a reason. The reason may not benefit you today or directly, but be rest assured that there is a purpose for your pain. Perhaps those watching need to learn from you. It may be a bad diagnosis, redundancy, ill-treatment, grief, failure or rejection, you name it. All these are put on our doorstep to test our character, to help you develop and make you stronger and wiser. So, I am saying to you, hold on regardless of how much it hurts and consider the possibility that:

Everything happens for a reason.

Stay cool!