Charlie Boothe mugshot

Charles Boothe

Is everything that happens to us random or is there an order in what often appears to be chaos?

I am sure we all have had many debates over the popular phrase that “everything happens for a reason.”

Several years ago I was having a conversation with my half-sister (we share the same father), who was lamenting the fact that her mother, a very beautiful, intelligent woman, did not attend college and pursue some sort of professional career.

No doubt she was capable of doing so and had always been talented academically.

Instead, after high school she married my father and started having children straightaway.

After we had talked about it for awhile, I looked at my sister and asked if she realized what she was saying.

I told her that I agreed her mother could have done anything she wanted to do, but if she had not chosen the path she did, we would not be having the conversation because she would not exist.

Many of us go through divorces and, in my case, I remarried and had two more children.

Yes, divorce is painful, but if that had not happened I would not have my two other children, so I certainly have no regrets, and it worked out for the best.

In fact, many unpleasant things in my life actually worked out for the best in the long run.

We may not see unpleasantness coming, but neither do we see the silving linings at the time.

We all choose certain paths. Sometimes we make those decisions on sound reasoning and common sense. At other times, well, not so much.

That is especially true when it comes to romance, when infatuation can push our heads so far into the clouds we ignore the reality around us back on earth.

Red flags about the other person pop up and we pay no attention or brush them off as unimportant, thinking they can be “fixed.” Love overcomes everything, right? Yeah, right…

We do not want to spoil the “true love” we think we share, so not only do we tend to overlook potential problems, we may not even be ourselves around them, trying to say and do the “right” things to keep the feeling going.

Yes, it is very easy to do that. I know, I have gone through it more than once, so I speak from experience.

The bottom line with that is this. You cannot truly love someone until you know who they are, and I mean to their core. So you had best find out the truth about them before you marry, which, of course, means being honest.

Infatuation never lasts. Reality always sets in and it can be impossible to deal with.

That is a bit of a digression, but it shows how we make mistakes and can still cherish the results with our children, even if we have to move on with our lives otherwise.

Most of the time, events or situations that seemed really odd, bad and chaotic at the time eventually worked out okay. In fact, without those apparent coincidences something wonderful may not have happened at all.

It’s like, gosh, maybe all of that, regardless of how awful it may have been at the time, served a purpose because it led to something far better than we anticipated.

And there really is no better example in my life than my children.

When I look at the series of events, some totally out of the blue and even traumatic, that led me to a particular place at a particular time I realize there simply is no way they could have been random coincidences. Those circumstances and events fell like dominoes, one right after the other, but with no apparent order or purpose.

But if they had not happened, I would not have my children. Oh, I may have children, but they would not be the ones I have. And I simply cannot imagine my life without these unique children.

Of course, I have had many debates with people about why this happens, not only with kids, of course, but in many other ways with our chaotic lives that end up having some order. And on the flip side, why do some people have more than their share of hardships?

Some people really do believe that it actually is chaos, with no particular purpose, and we has humans can’t accept that, and create a fantasy of purpose, trying to tie things together to have a chain rather than a pile of links.

I admit, finding purpose in horrible things, like senseless wars and atrocities like the Holocaust, is a bridge too far. Just makes no sense whatsoever and could not possibly serve any purpose we can fathom.

But maybe if our hearts are in the right place when we make misguided decisions they can often end up being a gateway for an eventual good that is part of a larger purpose.

At least that is the hope.

Charles Boothe is a reporter at the Daily Telegraph. Contact him at

Contact Charles Boothe at

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