Find a reason.

My friend Kris and I were talking about grief and loss. Specifically, the type of shocking, shattering loss that blasts into your world out of nowhere. Like a hideous comet hurtling towards the center of your life. Abrupt and senseless. Completely out of your control.

A baby who dies suddenly in the night. A hospital worker’s voice saying, “I’m so sorry, your husband has expired.” The terrible news: “There’s been an accident.”

And this type of shocking loss doesn’t always center around a person’s death. It can also be the death of a dream. A marriage. A friendship. The only job you ever loved. It was there. Now it’s gone.

“They say everything happens for a reason,” I said to Kris. “Do you believe that’s true?”

Kris, a woman who has endured a stupefying amount of loss in her life, shook her head. “No,” she replied. “Everything does not happen for a reason. Sometimes things happen and there’s no logic or reason at all. It’s just senseless. But…” she continued. “We find a reason. We make a reason. We can turn the heartache into something meaningful, if we choose to.”

Kris’ words still echo in my ears and in my heart. We find a reason. We make a reason.

Now, as I am reeling from a particularly stinging loss in my life, that is exactly what I am trying to do. Make a reason. Make a lesson. Make an opportunity. Take all the disappointment and loss and turn it into light, into art, into the next book, into creative fuel — fuel to begin a new chapter of my life, the best one yet.

This is not easy to do. But I am trying. Trying to remember that no matter what happens around me or to me, I am not powerless or helpless. Because I can pick up these broken pieces and make something beautiful out of the shards. And so can you — dear human being who is reading this message. You’re not alone in your pain, and neither am I. We’re swimming together through the chaos, and we’re going to make our own reasons, and we’re going to create our own answers to the question of “Why?”, and we’re going to make some art, and earn some wisdom, and we’re going to survive.