When Bad Things Happen to Really Good People

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June 5, 2013 by Heather

I was going to write today about how I am THISCLOSE to being pretty much just exactly almost like Oprah.

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:

"YOU get lettuce, and YOU get lettuce!  EVERYONE GETS SOME LETTUCE!"

“YOU get lettuce, and YOU get lettuce! EVERYONE GETS SOME LETTUCE!”


However, my ability to compare and contrast my gardening skillz with the Queen of Daytime is not really rising to the occasion on this sunny Wednesday morning.

My heart is really heavy.  I feel it in my chest, in my throat, behind my eyes.  All I want to do is turn Sara Groves on and stare at the wall, but that’s not very practical or productive – and I am nothing if not practical and productive.

Whenever difficult times fall on loved ones, I am usually quick to try to bandage it up with humor and a plate of cookies, and then keep myself busy so I don’t dwell on it.  One of my favorite songs is Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson:

“The storm is coming but I don’t mind
People are dying, I close my blinds
All that I know is I’m breathing now”

The lyrics read a lot harsher than they sound when sung.  But harsh or not, that is usually how I deal with tough stuff.  I put up the shutters and move on.  Give me flight over fight any day of the week.

It is inevitable that bad things will happen, but why does it seem like they always happen to the best people around?  The people who are, perhaps, the very least deserving of any bad thing at all?  Oh the questions I have for God when I meet him at those pearly gates.

My mom always says, “Everything happens for a reason.”  But what if it doesn’t?  What if really sucky things just… happen?  And saying that it was meant to be or will all make sense in time… what if that’s just stuff we say to help ourselves or others cope?  I honestly do believe, however, that everything does happen for a reason.  Maybe it’s because I’ve heard it my whole life, maybe it’s because it’s true, maybe it’s because I desperately need to believe it for my own sanity.. who knows.

When people you love are going through the trenches, I think the most important thing you can do is show up.  Unless they don’t want you to, then give them some space until they do.  It can be awkward trying to figure out what to say, what not to say (maybe don’t say “everything happens for a reason” just yet).  But show up – whether that means physically, on the phone, in a letter, or with that plate of cookies.  Listen, love, and pray.  Because prayer is the most powerful thing in the whole world.

So to those of you who are in the trenches:

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13

“The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble, And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; For Thou, O LORD, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.”  Psalm 9:9-10

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1





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