Over the years, I have learned that every life circumstance, even a tragedy, provides an opportunity to grow. A friend recently told me of how she had lost her farm and her home that she loved so much in a horrible fire. Everything she owned and collected for more than sixty years was destroyed.
“At moments like this,” she said, “you stand at a fork in the road. If you take the familiar path, you collapse, give up, and feel hopeless, resentful, and defeated. You focus on the negative and lose yourself in the ‘problem,’ pointing to your misery to rationalize your pessimism. It takes little effort to be a victim and to stay a victim. It’s the easy way out.”
“You can, however, take the other path, You can view your tragedy as an opportunity for a new beginning. If you decide to keep your perspective, you can look for growth opportunities, and find inner reserve of strength. By deciding to focus on the possibilities rather than the pain, I was able to come through the loss of every material thing I owned with more strength and contentment than I had before the fire. When I sat and reflected on the whole experience, I soon realized that the things I had collected over my lifetime were just that – things, and things that I no longer needed, things that were actually becoming an anchor to keep me on the shore of new growth. After considerable suffering from the loss, I began to realize that the important things in life are not things at all. No longer attached to my house, I moved closer to my grandchildren. This was a move I had been procrastinating for sometime.”
“As I adjusted to my new environment, I was invigorated. It felt as if I were starting the second half of my adulthood. Had I taken the path of misery, I would have remained resentful and depressed, and would have missed the opportunity to set sail to new possibilities.”
What gifts have been given to you that are disguised as tragedies? What is calling you to deepen your authentic presence? What are you waiting for?