Writer Mica Gray explores the latest TikTok trend and why it's helpful for our spiritual lives.
If you’re like me and have found yourself scrolling through TikTok’s endless content, you may have come across the recent trend "it’s a canon event".
A "canon event" refers to the events in our lives that though difficult or embarrassing, have ultimately made us who we are. These events could be seemingly inconsequential like dying your hair for the first time to more difficult experiences like going through your first break-up or losing a family member.
The trend originated from the new Spiderman movie which shows Spiderman across different timelines encountering the same key events in each life. One of these events is the death of a parental figure. Spiderman tries to prevent these deaths in each timeline but is unable to because they’re key events in his story. Without them, he wouldn’t be inspired to fight crime; he wouldn’t become Spiderman.
It speaks to a really important point: that there is often a purpose to be found in our pain.
While on TikTok, this idea is explored in humorous ways and is applied to funny everyday things (like men getting a bad haircut before a party) it speaks to a really important point: that there is often a purpose to be found in our pain.
When we go through embarrassing or difficult life events, we can often spend a lot of time ruminating on the question: "Why has this happened to me?" We can become angry with God and start to lose our faith because we don’t understand why God would let something so terrible happen to us. Reframing these experiences as "canon events" can help remind us that God uses our trials for good, that these events help to build our character and our lives.
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In the life of Jesus, we might consider his death and resurrection as canon events, events that while incredibly painful but were necessary for the purpose of salvation and for helping us define who Jesus is. In my own life, one of my canon events was going through a mental health breakdown while I was in my final year of University. Though it was arguably a traumatic event, going through it transformed my life for the better. It started me in my career in the mental health field, taught me how to speak up for my needs and most importantly, it brought me to faith. While it was undoubtedly a challenging time I look back on it with joy because without it, I don’t know if I would have had the encounters with God that I did.
Reframing tough experiences as "canon events" can help remind us that God uses our trials for good.
This doesn’t mean of course that we should look at every "bad" thing in our lives as ordained by God or that we should be passive and not try to make positive changes towards our futures. What it does do, is remind us that God is in the business of exchanging beauty for ashes and making all things work for good.
It is an encouragement for us when we go through trials to not labor on the question of: "Why is this terrible thing happening to me?" but to ask "What might this be building in me?" To look at our personal canon events, those difficult moments in our lives, as opportunities for us to build faith, character and hope. All of those things which empower us to make it through, maintain our faith, and ultimately, work to make us more like Jesus.