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Book Club: Everything Happens For A Reason, Chapter 4

Welcome to the comments and discussion of the Young Adult Cancer Book Club!  We are reading Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler.  Catch up on Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3.

Let’s get started!

Chapter 4: Seasons

Commentary by Christy R.:

Kate sees her life as a series of many ups and downs, with there being seasons of disappointments intertwined with moments of extreme happiness. She describes how she and Toban were struggling to make ends meet at the beginning of their marriage and had to postpone starting a family. They spent 10 years trying not to get pregnant while she was in school and money was tight. Now they finally decided it was time, Kate was dealt the unfortunate hand of having to undergo multiple fertility treatments.

A takeaway for me here is that waiting for your breakthrough can be exhausting!

I think back to all the moments I needed to catch a break myself during my own treatments. It can seem to pile up and add to the exhaustion you already are feeling. Asking the question of, “Why me?”

It was during her season of waiting, she notices that waiting is a major theme for prosperity in the church. It encourages believers to sow seeds of faith and wait for the rain and harvest. Scripture had said, “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” But one Sunday the First Lady of the church grew tired of waiting and proclaimed everyone to stand up and claim their blessings. This lead Kate to ask for a baby.

Kate found herself in a place of having to pretend to be happy for other women who seem to live this blessed life. But she believed through prayer and a little bit of luck, she was finally able to get pregnant.

This set off on what would be a path to an amazing year for Kate. The release of her first book on the prosperity gospel, birth of her son Zach, and a reset she felt on life. A new found happiness.

Commentary by Hillary W.:

Chapter 4, with the birth of Kate’s son, was difficult to read. When Kate talks of her “outrageous happiness” I felt helpless knowing what was about to follow. Young adult cancer is particularly insidious because it hits us at a time in our lives when we’re often experiencing these amazing highs – in Kate’s case, she has a baby and her first book has just been published. My son was a similar age to Kate’s when I was first diagnosed so I felt a personal connection and a genuine sense of dread and foreboding as the chapter ended with the word “blessed.” Cancer decimates the ability to be blissfully unaware.

Commentary by Marie-Elyse B.:

My initial reaction after reading chapter four of everything happens for a reason was that, up to now, this was the chapter that least represented me or anything i’ve been through before, during, or after my cancer diagnosis. Whereas chapter three called to me on multiple levels, chapter four was mostly about Kate’s dream of motherhood, which is something that has never been on my mind. Even if the treatment I had could have caused infertility, and the chances were slim, I never wanted children and that was the least of my worries when I was diagnosed (and still is).

On the other hand, after re-reading the chapter, there is something Kate and I had in common: an impossible dream. Before my diagnosis, I was always traveling, auditioning for orchestras, in order to, one day, land the perfect job. As an orchestra musician, this can be a painful, long, and depressing process. After multiple auditions and still no job, I found myself also trying to find answers to all those refusals: new teachers, therapy, etc. Without much success at first and also making “trading” prayers to whoever could be listening up there. Then the impossible: a few months before I started having health issues, I did it. I won the perfect job, far from my family, but in my home country. And same as Kate, that answered wish seemed like it came with a great price when a few months living my dream. I was told that my shoulder problems were not instrument-related, but a lymphoma to which I would have to stop working in order to get chemotherapy treatments. I also felt the same thing as Kate about waiting. I had waited all those years before having my own place, before getting a pet, getting into a serious relationship, etc. All these things in hold to reach my dream, just to see it crumble as soon as it became real. Maybe I shouldn’t have waited? Maybe it was better this way? Even now that I’m in remission and doing way better, even now that I’m back to my dream job I wonder, should I have waited this long to pursue those other paths in my life?

Join in next Monday for the comments and discussion on Chapter 5: Surrender!

Thanks for joining us for Chapter 4: Seasons of  Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler!  Join in next Monday for the next chapter!

We will talk about a few chapters each Monday until the book is done.  If Monday happens to be a holiday, then the post will publish on Tuesday.  Once we finish the book, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss.  We’ll also have a video chat book club discussion at the end!  Join in, in the comments every week!  Also, there will probably be spoilers so read along with us!

Excited about the young adult cancer book club?  Have any suggestions for future reads?  Let us know!