I’m not so sure everything happens as it’s meant to happen. I do believe everything eventually works itself around to the best it can be (given those specific circumstances) but not necessarily as good as it could have been if I had made different choices. I believe that my choices and actions do have consequences and some of those consequences are bad. Sure I can learn from the consequences and maybe even become stronger in some areas because of my suffering. I can also recognize good that comes from a bad situation. That’s not the same as saying I was supposed to make mistakes and suffer. I can make decisions that get me off the path I was meant to take. I then have to take a harder path or maybe have a few side trips that I would not have otherwise had to take. I do believe in missed opportunities and different endings to my story based on which paths I decide to take. I don’t think everything happens for a reason although I do believe that whatever I do and wherever I am that things will eventually work out for the best (as possible) in spite of my bad decisions. It does not mean, though, that the life I have now is the one I was meant to have. Rather, I think that God helps me make the most of my circumstances even when I have gotten myself in a bad situation. Good will and does come of whatever happens but that is not the same as saying that it was supposed to happen the way it did. My choices–my free will, impacts how my life ultimately turns out. Just as my parents would help me overcome difficulties (even those that resulted from terrible choices), then God, too, helps us make the best of our situations and does, in fact, influence us to do better, to grow, and to learn so we can move on to create a better life for ourselves and ultimately (and hopefully) achieve that which we are truly meant to achieve. It requires our cooperation and participation in the process. Many of us don’t achieve all we could have and it’s because we did not do our part and not because the universe conspired against us.