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Everything Happens for a Reason

Ryan had just turned 21 years old when his reserve unit was deployed to Iraq. He had just asked his girlfriend to marry him and was in his final year of college. Ryan didn't worry too much about the war, though. Ryan was an optimist and as far as he was concerned everything happens for a reason. 
The IEDs seemed to be everywhere. The makeshift explosives turned marketplaces into blood-soaked scenes of carnage. They also waited on the desolate roads that ran across the desert. One exploded right next to Ryan's passing humvee. The shrapnel proliferated Ryan's flesh and infection set in around the metal scraps. Ryan's leg had to be amputated. 
"It will be ok. Everything happens for a reason. God has a plan" Said a teary-eyed Ryan when he woke full of drugs and with one less leg. 
When the army returned Ryan to the world, they left him unemployed and addicted to painkillers. Ryan was in no shape to resume school, but he held onto his sunny disposition.
"It's ok," He said clutching his fiance's hand in the rehab center. "Everything happens for a reason," He assured her.
One day Ryan returned home to find his fiance gone. All she left was a note explaining that in his current condition he was a bit more than she could take on. 
"God has a plan. It's all part of a plan." Ryan repeated to himself as he took a swig of whiskey to wash down his cocktail of sleeping pills and antidepressants.
Day to day life became an ordeal far too painful for the former soldier. He tried to flood away his memories and pain with more prescriptions and ever deeper bottles. Soon Ryan lost his job. 
"It's ok everything happens for a reason," He muttered while hobbling out of the office.
Ryan had been abandoned. He was beyond the reach of his friends and family. They couldn't relate or understand what he was going through so they could make no real attempt to save him. The army was cutting his benefits, and Ryan's landlord informed him he was going to go out with the trash at the end of the month.
"I'll be ok. God has a plan for me. Everything happens for a reason." Ryan said as he hopped into the street carrying a garbage bag filled with his few remaining possessions. 
Ryan spent the next several months floating between homeless shelters. Some days he didn't make it in time, and the doors were closed to him. So he had to spread some cardboard and newspaper down on the cold, damp cement under and overpass.
Ryan was curled up in his sleeping bag, but his clothes were too damp to give him any hope of getting warm. The sounds of passing cars and footsteps triggered panic in him. Without enough drugs, he couldn't hope to fall asleep. He watched his frozen breath drift into the air. 
"Why is this happening to me God," He asked with chattering teeth.
"Because there will always be misery." came a hoarse whisper.
Ryan looked over. There was a hump-backed elderly man. His withered old face stuck out from his puffy winter coat like a turtle peeking out of its shell.
"What did you say?" Asked Ryan.
"The only plan in life is there will be misery and joy and not always in equal portions." Whispered the old man. "I'm afraid you will belong to the misery my son." The old man said before breaking into a coughing fit
"Are you ok?" Ryan said trying to push himself up.
The old man fell to the ground and was silent. Ryan crawled over to him. Ryan could see from his stone gray eyes that he was dead.
"Shit." muttered Ryan.
Suddenly the old man's chest heaved his mouth dropped open and let out a sound that shook the overpass like a heard of rushing elephants. An orb of light pushed its away out of his throat and flew off into the night sky.
Ryan never knew what he had encountered that night. Perhaps it was God. it didn't matter he had no one to tell.

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