“If we could see that everything, even tragedy, is a gift in disguise, we would then find the best way to nourish the soul.” – Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross
Life brings to us many things, some of which come disguised as gifts, while others as something that does not look at all like a gift, but perhaps bring us things that will turn out to be very important to us. Often times I have found that the things that appear to be awful, turn out to be the best things that could possibly happen to me–but it is up to me to accept them and learn from them if they are going to bring me any benefit at all.
I have been witness to many stories of hardships, suffering, and adversity throughout my life, not to mention the innumerable tales I have heard from others. Yet when I truly examine these stories months and years down the road, I consistently see something positive in them, something good rising from the tragedy. People who have lost their homes, only to find that their newfound freedom from the bonds of the home has been a great gift; people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have found a deeper understanding in life. Yes, some things are painful and some things are tragic, but if we allow ourselves the chance to learn from them, we will find that they bring to us lessons and growth that could come only through such means.
Elisabeth’s assertion here, that everything is a gift, is a strong set of words. And if it is true, it should open our eyes to many things that we need to learn, things that we are perhaps blind to in our current situations and current state of mind. Eric Clapton struggled for years with drug addiction, and at one point was hospitalized. Additionally, he lost his good friend Stevie Ray Vaughan and two of his road crew in a helicopter crash, and later that same year lost his four-year-old son who fell from the 49th floor of a Manhattan high-rise–the grief from which spurred him to write, “Tears in Heaven.” He overcame all of this to become a new man, a stronger man.
Tragedy and grief will be a part of all of our lives. And of course, it is much more pleasant to learn in ways that do not involve tragedy and grieving, nevertheless, the opportunities for growth and learning are there for each of us–through the grief, the anger, the denial, the bargaining, the depression, and hopefully the acceptance. It is up to us whether we recognize the gifts in such situations–if we keep our eyes and our hearts and our souls open to possibilities instead of closing them off, then we can help our spirits to grow and expand into a state of stronger love, awareness, and compassion.
Try to find the gifts that lay obscured behind the tragedies that have occurred in your life.
Questions to consider:
Why do we tend not to see the gifts that are inherent in the disasters of our lives?
What do you learn the most from–the obstacles or the easy times?
How might we help others who have gone through hard times to see the gifts that those hard times might have brought them?
For further thought:
“Adversity, if for no other reason, is of benefit, since it is sure to bring a season of sober reflection. People see clearer at such times. Storms purify the atmosphere.” – Henry Ward Beecher