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