A gorgeous sunset. The sky was ablaze with hues of brilliant orange and pink and the air was warm but crisp. A sliver of the setting sun was visible across the Seattle skyline. Oh, what a gorgeous sight! My life had just begun to come together- I had finally landed a job in the IT firm that was the talk of the town and my wife and I had finally bought a beautiful house just off city limits. It was finally starting to fall together like the pieces of a puzzle and I was beginning to feel jubilant, having achieved what most people consider success in life. I never thought it would work out so well for us so soon- especially after that horrific accident that had left my wife, with several fractures and a lacerated lung. The appalling hospital bills had almost left us penniless! I had chalked off all the good things happening in my life to being the blessings of the Lord- after all, virtue and success go hand in hand, right?
I had really religious parents growing up – they always taught me the importance of being a good person and always doing good deeds- that no matter what, the good will invariably triumph over the evil and be rewarded by God in the end. Thus throughout my life, I did everything right. I worked hard. I played according to the rules. I was kind as often as I could be. I always felt like the things that happened to me were a part of some bigger picture and I would emerge as a winner in the end.
The door opened with a creak and the smell of hospital disinfectant invaded my nostrils as the rude awakening hit me. Several machines with colourful lights flashing surrounded me and I looked at my wife plod across the door.
Stage four colon cancer. Those are all the words I heard before going numb as the doctor was briefing me about my grave diagnosis with a poker face as if this news wasn’t something that could destroy something irreplaceable. That was about a month ago. Before cancer had sucked most of my life out of me. As I lay there reflecting while staring at the white perforated hospital ceiling, my wife silently sat down and smiled sadly at me. You could tell she was fighting tears. She reached out to my veiny hand which was pierced with umpteen tubes and held it firmly. She was wearing white. I couldn’t help but reminiscence about the time I held her hand at the altar as the words “ …till death do us part” echoed across the hall. We both had taken that oath enthusiastically, without paying heed to the death part. I couldn’t help but feel like I was stumbling across the debris of the dreams we had for the both of us, the happily ever after I thought I had assumed I was entitled to.
I had lived my whole life believing everything happened for a reason. Not just any reason, but a good reason. But what could possibly be good about dying from cancer? I had ruminated over this the whole time I was in the hospital. After all, there wasn’t much else I could do as my body wasted away before my eyes. I realized that the events of our lives don’t need reasons. We need them. The reasons weren’t anything beyond what I created to help me through it all. But I realize now, that at some point, the pen with which we write our reasons will dry up. And when this moment comes, there will be no ink left to write a reason.