We/I take a lot for granted. We assume our normal lives will continue unabated until they don’t. When that break occurs it throws us off and causes us to re-evaluate everything. In some ways this disruption is helpful, in another way it’s very stressful. For those who like to see a silver lining in everything, even the worst experiences, this mode of analysis might be helpful. Still it is a high price to pay for shifting one’s perspective.
I find myself doing exactly this, when bad things happen looking for a new way to look at things. I try to imagine a different way to see the world so that the challenge before is not as large as it appears. It is not avoidance, I still walk toward the challenge. But instead of walking forward with despair I try to imagine what I can take away from it that will help make my life more rich and full in the future.
99% of the mistakes I make in life are caused by moving too fast and not being cautious enough. I know this about myself. But I feel there are things around me I miss and neglect and I lose. When I make these mistakes it causes me to be more aware of those things I don’t take care to engage. I find myself hugging more, listening better and noticing more details of other’s stories.
I want to be careful not to sound like one of those Christians who suggest “everything happens for a reason.” It’s not that I think this is wrong, it is just it is a point-of-view I don’t often take and it is not what I am trying to express here. I do understand the upside of taking the view that God does everything and we can’t worry about what happens since it is not in our hands. But the downside, something folks who think this way rarely acknowledge, is that we have no agency and it begs the question, “why would a loving God allow this or do that?’ People make sense of their lives in ways that make sense to them, if it makes them a better person who am I or quarrel with it? But my point here is not to assume that everything happens for the best, rather it is to look for ways to see the world differently in light of this new unwelcome challenge.
Many people will tell me after a challenge has been dealt with that they suddenly realized they were investing a lot of stress, worry and expense in things that ultimately were not important. They did not realize this until the event occurred. It’s amazing what we can give up or add to our lives that we never considered possible until we needed to. The emergency response causes us to do things we normally would never do and when we do it we realize the possibility of new approaches never considered.
It’s like we complicate our lives with increasing complexity as we do well, get settled and look for more. Suddenly when those things we have come to count on are gone, temporarily or permanently, we need to think more about how we needed them and how we live without them. Can we be happy again in a new way? Most of the time the answer is yes. When we lose someone that is a permanent loss, a hurt that never vanishes. But things and experiences can be left behind and new life can come from this.