Why Bad Things Happen.

get elephant's newsletter

A post shared by Erin (@erinsalem) on

Years ago, my husband successfully sold our old dining room table on Craigslist.

He took some of the cash to pay bills and gave me a hundred dollars just because, which I put in my pocket.

Later he called to see if I wanted to have lunch and I joked, “Yeah and I can take you out today with my hundred bucks!”

He chuckled and said, “Sounds good, babe. I’m a kept man.”

Only when we got to the restaurant and I reached into my pocket for the cash, it was gone. I ran back to my car, scanning the sidewalks and bushes on the way. I tore my Mini Cooper apart. I retraced my steps like a frantic beagle. By the time I was finished throwing a complete temper tantrum, lunchtime was way over. So I went home and tore some more things apart.

I never found the hundred bucks.

That night, I lay in bed while my brain scanned the reasons, the “lessons” I might need to learn from losing the money:

What do I have to learn here?
What is it that I’m not getting?
Do I need to learn to let go?
Have I been too careless in life lately?
Am I placing too much value on money?
Is it that I should let my husband treat me to lunch?

No, that last one didn’t make sense because I love when he takes care of me.

I went to bed with anxiety, and I woke up with anxiety. Why did I lose that money?!

My husband finally asked the next day, while watching me, once again, check between the black leather seat and the center console, “What if you just lost the money and that’s, like, it?”

That was the very first day in my entire adult life to date that I realized sometimes bad things just happen. There’s not always a magical spiritual chant you can meditate your way through in order to find the root cause of a bad thing (although I’ve tried them all).

Bad things could simply be bad things. No analysis, no pathology, no deep meaning.

Just bad.

People leave you or they die. You get fired. Someone is rude to you. You don’t get the house. You miss the jackpot by one number. Sometimes there’s a really good lesson in all of it. But sometimes bad stuff just happens. The end. You don’t always have to spend time redeeming it with a lesson in order to make bad stuff okay, or to try to understand it so that it doesn’t happen again.

Because understanding why a bad thing happens doesn’t actually change the bad thing or prevent more bad things. No, sometimes life isn’t as complicated and intricate as we make it.

Sometimes a hundred bucks just falls out of your pocket.



Acceptance is Not Resignation

Why Suffering is the Most Beautiful Human Experience.


Bonus: 5 Mindful Things to Do Each Morning.


Author: Erin Salem
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy & Social Editor: Travis May

is a new feature on Elephant Journal—enabling you to instantly share your mindful ideas, photos, art, YouTube videos/Instagram links & writings with our 5 million readers. Try it Now.

Write Now

About Erin Salem

Erin Salem is a wife, mom, writer, lazy chef, and author of the book Finding Inner Peas, to be released the spring of 2018. She laughs out loud at least three times a day and tries to make other people laugh out loud at least three times a day, too. Erin regularly ingests carbohydrates and almost never drinks enough water. Her life just gets better and better. Connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or her website.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.