A Series of Unfortunate Events, Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

02Mar10

Sunday was kind of a crazy day. Looking back now, it doesn’t seem like a big deal in retrospect to what’s happening in the world today or what happens almost everyday, but in the heat of the moment the day seemed like the results of my own version of the Butterfly effect, a series of epic fails.

EPIC FAIL #1:
My parents picked me up from the train station, which is about one hour from their house. Upon arrival, my Dad informed me of a “little problem,” our car wouldn’t start.

EPIC FAIL #2: I greeted my Mom who was upset that my Dad had failed to call TripleA half an hour ago when the incident first occurred (instead he delayed the call once I arrived).

EPIC FAIL #3: Finally after half an hour, the TripleA man came. The problem turned out to be the car battery. My Dad thought he had replaced the battery the year before, but it was the battery in our other car he had replaced. It was a point of contention between my parents whether to change the batter then and there, or wait until later when they had the appropriate funds. We ended up changing it to avoid further battery failage. Problem solved.

EPIC FAIL #4: After, I insisted that we eat right away because I couldn’t wait any longer. After the four hour train ride without sustenance, and the extra half hour waiting for TripleA, I couldn’t stand the extra hour drive without food.

EPIC FAIL #5: My Dad, hoping to avoid car door scratches, parked in an open space. After we finished dinner, we made our way back to the car only to be welcomed by an uninvited visitor. A car had slammed into the passenger side of our car, practically t-boning it!

EPIC FAIL #6: In order to separate the collision, the driver who slammed his car into ours would simply have to back up. The problem was, his car wouldn’t reverse. And there was no way for our car to back out without damaging half the side of our car.

EPIC FAIL #7: The other driver did not want to call the tow truck company because he wanted us to back our car up. My Dad refused to call the towing company because he did not want to be responsible for picking up the tab when it wasn’t his fault to begin with.

EPIC FAIL #8: My Dad and the manager of the restaurant insisted we call the police. We phoned our insurance agent and they advise that we wait for the police as well. However, because no one was injured (we have this to be VERY thankful for), we were told that they would send a police car after they took care of the more important calls (understandable). We ending up never filing the police report because the police never showed up (after three hours of waiting!).

Within those three hours, both parties were able to exchange info and call their respective insurance companies. As to whether the man’s insurance company will cover everything, we have yet to know.

As my mom and I chatted, we tried to pinpoint the incident that started it all. We pinned it to the obvious: our car battery dying. Quick to blame, my Mom pointed out that if my Dad had only called the TripleA agent sooner (See: Epic Fail #2), we would have finished dinner sooner and thus alluding our current situation. Or if only my Dad had replaced the battery earlier (See: Epic Fail #3) after the first time it showed signs of dying (it had died once before on my Mom), maybe this whole thing could have been avoided.
To play devil’s advocate, my Dad suggested another possibility. Maybe if he had called TripleA sooner, we would have finished eating earlier and one of us could have been in the car when it was hit, or worse, inbetween the car. The wheels in my head began turning…maybe it was my fault! If I hadn’t suggested eating right away instead of waiting to go home (See: Epic Fail #4), none of this would have ever happened.

Who knows what different chain of events could have occurred if XYZ happened or if YZX didn’t happen.

“Butterfly Effect. A name given to the extreme sensitivity of chaotic systems, in which small changes or perturbations lead to drastically different outcomes”

PBS.org

There will always be what if’s. What I learned from this situation is that we should be thankful for what we have. In our case, it was that no one was hurt.

When bad things happen, it’s easy to look for specific reasons why things went bad. If I did this differently…If I only took this shorcut…If I just listened to my instincts…If only I said this…If only I didn’t say this…. The possibilities are endless. You can drive yourself crazy thinking about every little detail.

It’s true, that there are times when you can learn from your mistakes and do things differently the next time around. But sometimes, like with what happened to me and my parents, sometimes you can’t blame any one event. You cannot anticipate or explain every cause and effect in your life.

Sometimes things happen randomly in the Universe and will forever remain unexplained. It’s not your fault, you were simply present at the wrong place/wrong time. It’s how you react to what happens and what you take away from each lesson that matters. If you can learn a life lesson, at least take away something from a particularly crappy situation– a new lease on life, a better appreciation for your loved ones, a focus on a different set of priorities, etc… maybe it did, in fact, happen for a reason.

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