Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved -Goodreads Review

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved
by Kate Bowler

Tone: First person, spiritual, surprising sense of humor
Take Away: Thirty-five-year-old divinity professor Kate Bowler shares her struggles, hopes, and fears after being diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.
How I discovered this title: Book club choice
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After completing the book What Matters Most: The Get Your Shit Together Guide to Wills, Money, Insurance, and Life’s “What-ifs by Chanel Reynolds (for that review click here), I wasn’t sure I was up to reading another book containing a dire diagnosis. However, since this title was the next choice for a book club I recently joined, I soldiered on.

Surprisingly, even with her slightly more theological attitude, Kate Bowler echoes many of the lessons shared by Chanel Reynolds. When faced with difficult and painful problems, platitudes don’t help and often hurt. Friends and family can be more supportive by helping with daily chores, making phone calls, or simply providing companionship. Whether a person has just received a terminal diagnosis or lost a spouse, they don’t want to hear that everything happens for a reason. What reason can justify the resulting grief, fear, and sadness?

So ease up on the life lessons. Life is a privilege, not a reward.

Kate Bowler

The question is not if, but when we will inevitably face loss, illness, and faith-shaking circumstances in our lives. Kate Bowler shares that after her diagnosis, one of her friends told her not to skip to the end. In other words, don’t dwell on the outcome and waste precious days and experiences.

But guess what? That is where I live, in the valley of the shadow of death. But now I’m on vacation because I’m not in the hospital or dealing with my mess. Do I have to take my sunglasses off and join you in the saddest journey down memory lane, or do you mind if I finish my mojito?

I recommend this book to anyone dealing with faith questions resulting from a serious health crisis. Kate Bowler offers us an inspiring and thought-provoking glimpse into her personal journey.

This is the problem, I suppose, with formulas. They are generic. But there is nothing generic about a human life. There is no life in general. Each day has been a collection of trivial details—little intimacies and jokes and screw-ups and realizations. My problems can’t be solved by those formulas—those clichés—when my life was never generic to begin with. God may be universal, but I am not. I am Toban’s wife and Zach’s mom and Karen and Gerry’s daughter. I am here now, bolted in time and place, to the busy sounds of a blond boy in dinosaur pajamas crashing into every piece of furniture.

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