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Why Tragedy Happens to Good People

When we see tragedy or bad things happen to good people, it can really shake our beliefs about life. One wonders, what’s the point in it all- if ‘life’s a bitch….then we all die.’

Today I noticed the sad life story of Keenu Reeves being posted and shared in around in Freethinkers Club’s Facebook photo:

This guy reading the newspaper on the subway is Keanu Reeves.
 
He is from a problematic family. His father was arrested when he was 12 for drug dealing and his mother was a stripper. His family moved to Canada and there he had several step dads.
 
He watched his girlfriend die. They were about to get married, and she died in a car accident. And also before that she had lost her baby. Since then Keanu avoids serious relationships and having kids.
 
He’s one of the only Hollywood stars without a Mansion. He said: ‘I live in a flat, I have everything that I need at anytime, why choose an empty house?’
 
One of his best friends died by overdose, he was River Phoenix (Joaquin Phoenix’s brother). Almost in the same year Keanu’s father was arrested again.
 
His younger sister had leukemia. Today she is cured, and he donated 70% of his gains from the movie Matrix to Hospitals that treat leukemia.
 
In one of his birthdays, he got to a little candy shop and bought him a cake, and started eating alone. If a fan walked by he would talk to them and offer some of the cake.
 
He doesn’t have bodyguards, and he doesn’t wear fancy clothes.
 
When they asked him about ‘Sad Keanu’, he replied: ‘You need to be happy to live, I don’t.'”

Keanu Reeves life has not been going well for him and stricken with tragedies. For some of us, we may know the feeling of reaching towards the brink of success…and then having tragedy strike at where it is most painful- lost of a loved one.

It may be hard for us to see the point at the darkest moment of our lives… but with time to heal and reflect, we may come to an understanding. It is impossible at the point but 10 years later, we may look at life totally different.

The tradegy may become a wake-up call, even though a very tough and seemingly unfair one, but nonetheless a wake up call that pulls the brakes of the wrong path that we are going to a screeching halt.

Yes, often it seems to happen to those who do not deserve it. At the point we may wonder why bad things happen to good people and bad people get away from doing bad things . In the grand scheme of it all, does it hold any meaning and if there is a God, why God let this happen?

A couple in love is separated because one dies from an uncurable disease like cancer and leukemia. It is so sad and painful to watch the person ‘s energy of life slowly draining out …the person we most cherish and love.

These are the realities of life- bad things do happen. Through my observation, it can happen to anyone, both good and bad. For the bad, we think  ‘they deserved it’ so we do not care or remember.

But years later, the unforgetable incident or incidents may change our entire outlook in life…. for the better. Through grieving, one receives the kindness of others. And one understands that one would never ever wished that on even an enemy. When another friend or a stranger suffers the same, one is able to offer words of comfort that is so badly needed because one had been through the same situation.

There is not much words that one needs to say, no rehearsed scriptings. Just a simple “I understand how you feel because I’ve been through the same” said with sincerity could comfort the spirit of the grieving one. Because the grieving one feels very alone- and when another human being who had been through the same situation came to offer some words of comfort, it made a difference.

13 years ago when tradegy struck my family– with my mother diagnosed with cancer and my father going into coma 3 days after my mom’s cancer operation (he eventually passed away after almost a week in life support)- I felt my world crashing over me. One day I was having it all- having a promising career, becoming a public speaker and the future was so bright ahead of me…..and the next, my life shattered to pieces.

And the most unexpected words that really offered me some comfort, came from ….of all people, my former colleague who appeared to be superficial- she never spoken on deep topics, loved to wear thick makeup and always dresses well with high heels. I had to go back to work after my compassionate leave was over. Many people felt sorry but did not know what to say.

One day, I happened or was it she waited for me so that we could board the train home. She casually asked me what actually happened and I told her in a something like…”well, my mom was diagnosed with tonsil cancer and had to undergo an operation. She was in a bad state after the operation…I was in and out of hospital and was crying at home. My dad, a man who could never quite expressed his feelings got a stroke, went into a coma, and died.  We found out he had secretly not been taking his high blood medication for about 6 months and that shock had triggered it.”

She then said the comforting words, right at that crowded train that gave me a glimpse into who she really was really deep down inside: “ I really want you to know I understand how you feel. When I was 15, my mom had to undergo a heart operation and was recovering in the hospital. Then my dad died. As you know I am the only child, no brothers or sisters. During the traditional Chinese funeral, the son had to carry the photo of the father on a funeral possession. I had no brothers so I carried the photo myself. How I cried and cried. So that is why I want you to know that I understand, I do, on what you are going through.”

It was only once that she let her guard down. After that, she had always remained as she is….someone with a mask on to protect herself.

Kindness often come from the most unexpected people, time and place.

Over the years, the tragedy made me relook into my priorities and overhaul my life. In a way, it had made me understand that power, fame and material gains would mean nothing if life is led in a wrong manner.

Whenever possible, I try to use my knowledge to help and benefit others. Instead of only focusing on the bad, I also recall the kindness and guidance that I’ve received from selfless people who came into my life. My life has better meaning and colour- even more so at the point 13 years ago before the tragedy struck when I was supposed to be a ‘rising star’.

A self-serving life brings no meaning. That is one of the causes why people turn to intoxicants and drugs to numb that inner indescribable emptiness. The thrill of buying that mansion or Porsche wears off soon after owning it.  Feeling the emptiness but not understanding it, they would go off to chase for the next thing…believing that it is what they need. This circle never end and causes a lot of stress, worry, anger and jealousy.

But for those who have gone through a great personal lost, then they would understand.  It can’t be taught but only understood, through experience.

If we study the life histories of successful people, we would notice that many of them rose from the depths of despair and work towards the success they have today. Life had given them a cruel blow- they could choose to become a victim forever and suffer, never recovering. But instead, they choose to rise up and with their insight and knowledge, they use it to help and benefit others, thus leading a meaningful and a fully conscious life.

Same incident, but different outcomes. What happened was in the past. But the choice we make today, now would shape our destiny in the future.

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