We are here to learn. I now look for the lesson that can be gained when terrible things happen. I know there ALWAYS is one.
I've learned to trust the process, even when it makes no sense. I have learned that I will not be given anything that I am not able to handle.
What got me through my husband's death — and what has gotten me through every challenge ever since — was that I shifted my thinking. It's not an original idea. Several years before Scott's death, I had read a book by Elizabeth Lesser called Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, which includes several short pieces about people going through different tragic situations.
The premise was this: When something terrible happens, you can continue to live your first life ... or you can phoenix from the ashes of the tragedy and live a second life with meaning and purpose. The idea isn't to forget the past but to use the knowledge gained to help others. And so that's what I've been trying to do ever since Scott died.
The idea of "shifting your thinking" isn't limited to tragedy. It can be applied in day-to-day situations. For example, when my mom was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis years ago, she was put on Lasix, a medication to decrease fluid retention, which meant she had to pee a lot.
She told me how tired she was from getting up and down to go to the bathroom. I explained that she needed to shift her thinking ... She needed to think of transitioning from "sit to stand" as an exercise. It was an opportunity for her legs to get stronger.
At first she laughed. But now? My mom does not mention the Lasix side effects. If anything, she tells me how many "squats" get done during the day! She successfully shifted her thinking at the age of 80.
There is that old saying about looking at life through rose-colored glasses. I believe in doing this. Except that I acknowledge when crappy things happen. I simply choose to find the lesson that could be buried deep in the experience.
If you're going through an unwelcome experience, I invite you set an intention. Create small steps to shifting your thinking. The shift is the gift.