Just like Sabio, this has happened to me before: a close friend is telling me how she just broke up with a boyfriend, or how she lost her job, or something else really depressing.
At some point, she utters: “This is all happening for a reason.”
Or: “It’s part of God’s plan.”
The polite thing to do is smile and nod. But I can’t bring myself to do that. I also don’t want to say what I’m thinking (“No it’s not”) and make this about religion… or me.
I take her sentence: “I believe everything happens for a reason” and translate it to say, “When bad things happen to me, I try to rebound and see if I can turn something good out of something that is obviously bad.“ Wheeww, there, with that translation there are no divine plans and no anthropocentrism. Now my analytic, cynical brain can listen with sincerity!
Now, this may be exactly what the woman meant, or she may indeed believe in a puppet master in the sky who cares for her and has big plans for her well-being. I can’t tell by her one statement. But for now, I will settle for my generous translation.
What do you do?