Maybe we are all interconnected, the seven billion of us on this planet now, all the people who have come before, and all who will come. Link by link, perhaps we all connect over space and time. Some connections are obvious – families, friends, work colleagues. Connections to great grandparents are clear, because we share genetics, and because our great grandparents raised our grandparents who raised our parents who in turn raised us, passing on cultural and family norms.
This idea of interconnectedness becomes more tenuous when we think of our local dry cleaner or the checkout girl at the nearby grocery store. When we pay for clean clothes or food, our money goes on to feed and house and educate their families, just as people who use our work help pay for our gas and our dishwasher soap. But perhaps the most interesting are the connections we have to strangers, about which we are unaware. The balloon that escapes our hand distracts the driver who then fails to see the traffic light, killing the mother crossing the street. We are oblivious of this death, but our hand still had a part.
If we are all threads in one great and enormous cloth, then perhaps my difficulties are the cost of another’s gifts. Perhaps my hardships create the learning that not only benefits myself and my family, but also helps people whom I will never meet. Maybe that is my answer to why bad things happen to good people. We are only one thread in a cloth whose design is so vast and intricate, that we will only ever know but a small part of its immense pattern.
Also published on Medium.