Dawn asked me to write about whether I think everything happens for a reason. My answer is no, but it probably sounds a lot like yes.
I have tried to find faith, but so far I haven't. I believe in a universe that's mostly chance and accident, an infinite number of monkeys hammering away on an infinite number of typewriters. I haven't completely reconciled this worldview with some other things I believe: in the urgency of living an authentic life, in the importance of cultivating kindness and curiosity, in the power of certain "compasses" we have: ethical and creative and relational. I don't specifically believe in karma, but I act like it and if I try to talk about how I make decisions my language would get kind of groovy sounding. Maybe that's why I read so many books on brain chemistry and happiness and evolutionary psychology, because I'm trying to make sense of it all. But at the core, I don't believe there is a Plan or a Fate, that the various twists and turns in our life are put there by some kind of intelligence in order to teach us certain life lessons or provide particular opportunities or challenges.
But. I think we are creatures that need to find meaning, and I believe the hunt for meaning is fundamental. It's important for identity and important for our social relationships and important for how we learn things and important for how we feel. The process of constructing meaning out of what happens in our life is what gives us our compasses, and it's the tuning device that tests and adjusts those compasses. So I believe very much in the practice of trying to figure out why something happened, what specific life lesson a person or an event allowed you to learn that you wouldn't have learned any other way. I think doing that kind of thinking connects the dots and helps us cement associations and lessons so we don't have to keep learning them over and over again.
So does everything happen for a reason? No. But can you find or create meaning from everything that has happened? I think it's worth your time to try.