When Bad Things Happen To Good People
In the wake of the Aurora, Colorado “Batman Rises” theater shooting on July 20th, many are asking the question “Why?”. “Why would a supposed benevolent creator allow such a thing to happen?” Good questions that of course are not easily answered.
From the pagan perspective we do not view the Divine as an outside omnipotent being, aka “God”. For us the Divine is a collective. You are not the God, I am not the Goddess, but you and I and all things, seen and unseen, make up the Divine Consciousness. As such, the Divine is not good or bad energy; it’s just energy. Good, bad or indifferent the Divine really is everything. How we (we the incarnated being) express that energy is what’s important and where we find the answer to how can bad things happen to good people.
It seems we often talk about free will and choice when it involves relationships, should I stay with him or should I leave her? Or when we’re looking for direction in any tough decision in our life that deals with another person. Be it figuring out how to handle a bad boss, an unhappy job situation, dealing with a person who constantly gets them self into bad relationships, drug abuse or alcohol problems. But when it comes to situations of great tragedy, we blame the situation on an outside force and ask “God, why did you do this or let this happen?”.
As human beings we don’t always make the best of choices and react in the best of ways, even in the smallest of struggles. Sadly the consequences of our actions can be tragic and heart breaking to others. Even if it doesn’t involve death or destruction, or both. How we act and react to others does affect the village we live in. Whither that village is a small town, or the global world, we are all connected to one another and what we do and how we do it can and does impact the world around us.
It is understandable that when a great tragedy occurs, we look at something greater than ourselves for answers to make sense of death and despair. We want to understand the reason behind the event to help us heal, to know that it wasn’t in vain or the death of a loved one wasn’t useless violence.
When bad things happen to good people, it’s a sign to me that life and our place in it is not preordained or controlled by some outside omnipotent force in the Divine cosmic realm. It’s control by us, the individual spirit with our own free will and our own choices. And that ..well it causes me to really think about the things I do and how they will affect other souls around me, or those I don’t even know and may never see. We are accountable for our actions, our reactions, or words, the way we express them and not only how it affects those we’re interacting with, but every person they interact with and the people those people interact with and so on. The snowball may not start with us, but we decide if it will continue down hill or not.
At time when so many are grieving and looking for answers, it’s important to remember that we all affect each other every day and in so many varied ways. That girl at the cash register was having a good day until the man who was frustrated with his wife came in and took his attitude out on the cashier. She went home and slammed the front door and yelled at her Mom. Her Mom got angry and yelled at her brother, who went outside and took a baseball bat to the tree in the front yard, breaking the bat and putting a splinter in his eye. That computer problem you had this morning that put you in a bad mood wasn’t the fault of your son, but you yelled at him anyway. That woman who sped around you on the highway that you beeped at and cursed to was rushing to the ER because her Mom had a heart attack and was near death. The little things you do every day are choices and the exercise of free will. Ask yourself, how did my actions affect the world today?
We may never know why a great tragedy occurred, such as the one in Aurora, Colorado. All we can do is remember that how we express our own anger and frustration does and will affect those around us. And in turn, will affect those we may never see or hear about. The snowball of emotions that start with us can simply cause someone to have a bad day, or it can kick off a series of events that eventually end in tragedy. But we may never know the cycle of emotion may have started with the attitude we handed out to our co-worker who didn’t do something the way we thought it should be done. But how you choose to respond determines what happens to that snowball.
You don’t have to go to Africa and build a well to bring fresh water to an area that has suffered for decades to make a real difference in the world. You can do it right here, right now, right where you are. Imagine how you can change a negative cycle of emotions and make a difference right now. When you see that cashier dealing with the angry customer, how hard would it be to say “It’s going to be ok, don’t let him control your day and put his anger in your world. You go right ahead and say with a smile, you’re not going to ruin my day.” When your child gets frustrated and angry, carry that anger further and yell back at them. How about walking up to them, giving them a hug and saying “honey what’s wrong?” and then perhaps trying to help them solve the problem. When you get frustrated at your co-worker, remember there are many different ways to change a diaper. It doesn’t matter how it’s done as long the end result is a clean baby that’s laughing instead of crying.
You may never know how your actions have affected others. Or how the impact of your reactions have carried through the cosmos and affected those you will never see or hear about. But if you express your emotions with love, compassion and kindness, you can stop the snowball from rolling downhill and getting bigger before it crashes into someone’s life who simply can’t take any more. You can be assured that your actions reflected the positive energy you desire and perhaps made a real difference in someone else’s day, or perhaps, their life.
Everyone in my family and at Spring’s Haven send our prayers, thoughts and compassion to everyone in Aurora, Colorado and those who have been touched by this tragic event. Especially to the survivors, and the families and friends of the victims. My the Great Spirits give you all the strength and compassion to get through the coming days, and over come the pain this event has caused in your lives. And so it is.
I hope the following article help those looking for ways to cope:
2. Dealing With Trials and Grief
Springwolf holds a Doctorate in Divinity and a Doctorate in Philosophy in Spiritual Counseling. She counsels families and women of abuse.
© 2012 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.