2013’s Most Cherished Experience

Positively No Negativity Challenge

Day 61 of 84

Sometimes it is difficult to understand why we have to go through pain, suffering and trials in life. It often feels unjust, unfair and unexplainable. We question God; we rail against Him: Why is my son’s concussion not getting better? Why is my mom sick? Why were the lights out for so many Ontario residents over Christmas? Why did I have to go through a divorce?

Why, why, why?

I remember during the pain of my divorce, sitting in my rocking chair and praying. My most constant prayer was, “ Lord, please don’t make me suffer all this for nothing. Make it that my suffering will be fruitful for someone else, somewhere, some time. If you can do that, at least I will be able to see a reason for what I am suffering now.”

The years passed and I did help some people with the legal aspects of their divorce. And I discovered a new sense of compassion for people who are suffering. But I wished that God would use me to really be a help to someone. I spoke to my pastor about starting a divorce recovery course but that didn’t really get off the ground because I didn’t care for the course format that was available and it didn’t really suit my personality. I figured that if this was what God wanted of me, I would be more excited about it.

So I quietly let that go.

And then during the past year I received a desperate call for help from a close friend. She was in trouble; her marriage was in trouble, and she called on me for non-judgmental advice, a shoulder to cry on, and some hope. Through many phone calls and over a period of several months, I listened, counseled from my own experience, and cried with her. I realized what great confidence she had in me to ask for my help and I took that fact very seriously.

As the months passed, her soul healed and her marriage slowly healed as well, until the day she called me, voice choking, to express gratitude for my being there for her. She said that I had saved her marriage.

I have to say that this experience was one of the most humbling of my life, but also it made me incredibly happy to see how God had answered my prayer from eight years prior.

Something very positive and life giving had come out of the ashes of my divorce. This is my most cherished experience and privilege of 2013.

It made me think of a passage by Ralph Waldo Emerson, called Compensation. In it Emerson is saying that not in spite of, but because of the tragedies that may befall us during our lifetimes, these tragedies can bring about changes which could ruin our lives, but which, instead, give us the chance to change and grow into a much stronger person who can be of much more value to mankind. I think that’s what happened to me.

This is one of my most favorite pieces of literature. It means so very much to me, and I hope that you will understand calamity a little better after you read it.


The compensations of calamity are made apparent to the

 understanding also, after long intervals of time. A fever, a

 mutilation, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of

 friends, seems at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But

   the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts.

The death of a dear friend, wife, brother, lover,

 which seemed nothing but privation, somewhat later assumes

 the aspect of a guide of genius; for it commonly operates

 revolutions in our way of life, terminates an epoch of infancy

 or of youth which was waiting to be closed, breaks up a

 wonted occupation, or a household, or style of living, and

 allows the formation of new ones more friendly to the growth of character.

 It permits or constrains the formation of new acquaintances

 and the reception of new influences that prove of the first

 importance to the next years; and the man or woman who

 would have remained a sunny garden-flower, with no room

 for its roots and too much sunshine for its head, by the falling

 of the walls and the neglect of the gardener is made the

 Banyan of the forest, yielding shade and fruit to wide neighborhoods of men.

Happy 2014 to you, dear Reader. I hope your year is happy and blessed.


 Today I am grateful:

1. For a beautiful last day of 2013

2. For a brand-new start

3. For gas in my car

4. For an earlier Dr. appointment for my son

5. For a supper of haddock and potato wedges, prepared by Dave



12 thoughts on “2013’s Most Cherished Experience

  1. A few more great quotes on this from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:

    “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
    ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

    “Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.”
    ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

    “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
    ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


    • Tim, love, love, love the quotes, especially the first one- are they from the Grieving book or the Death and Dying one? Thank you so much for sharing them! Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief sure did help me to understand what I was going through a few years ago.


  2. Hola from Nicaragua ! Thanks to Wifi, I get to read you each morning, all the way down here, in the middle of the jungle ! You inspire me, like a morning prayer…Happy 2014 my friend 🙂


  3. It is amazing when we realize that we can swim through sewers and remain unscathed. Our souls are strengthened and faith deepened. This only makes sense to a faith based person. Some young people don’t understand why they can’t have what they want, and can become bitter. It is such value when a lesson can be seen as well as learned.


  4. Back to the intuition thing. I’ve read your quote of Emerson’s and Tim as well. I just am about to order an audio book which ties in very well with your recent messages, Malcom McDowell’s ” David and Goliath…” My intuition tells me to suggest that book.

    Back to George Bailey and It’s a Wonderful Life, George gets to see what the world would be like had he never been born. What would the world be like if we were never born? It’s New’s Years Day and it’s a good concept to bring in the New Year.

    Obvious to me, you write from that space within that demands fulfillment and does not accept ‘ things the way they are’. Good for you. Good for me as well because I look foward to reading your posts and like the fact that you choose to fight the fight. I have a list as well. The Challenges. Your positivity angle is encouraging.

    So when I say thanks for your posts, those are some of the thoughts that go through my head, which may not have if you didn’t write.



    • Ah Alex, you warm my heart with your comments- I’m very grateful that anything I write can provoke thought in someone else. I checked out the book; it looks very good. Thanks for the recommendation!


  5. OK, I’m in.

    I mentioned It’s a wonderful Life yesterday, because I watched it after a forty year hiatus, and realized I never really paid attention. I cried four times by the way.

    Driving home yesterday my wife noticed a cloud that looked like a camel. When we reached home and opened a piece of mail there was another camel. Oooohh a message. Pay attention we’re seeing a camel for a reason, giggle, giggle. Well nothing spectacular occured as of yet but I’m telling the camel story to bring up a point. I suspect we are all aware of our intuition and how important it is to out very existance.

    Posting again, as I don’t want to lose this post in the internet ether.


  6. Happy New Year Chrissie et al.

    Let me see if this will let me post today, because I tried to respond yesterday and could not.


  7. It seems that it is only through suffering that we are able to grow. Only then can we truly come to depend and rely on that Transforming One who is beyond ourselves. Thanks Christine!


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