Have you ever had an experience or a bad day that you have thought if only that had never happened? Have you ever wished you could go back and change it? How much time have you spent thinking these thoughts over events of the past?
I want to share something with you that I hope will give you a new perspective on experiences in your past. A perspective that will help to change the way you look at the events in your life, even the so called "bad" ones. I know there will be some things that you may feel this perspective could never apply to and that may be true. However, I believe it will apply to enough of them that you can tip the scales in favor of looking at the past with joy rather than grief.
Let me share a story with you. On my daughter's second birthday, we were on our way to the park where we were having her birthday party when I got into a fender bender. I won't get into the details of the accident as that is not what is important. What is important is the series of events, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that resulted from the experience of the car accident.
I was on my way to meet my husband at the park. He had gone ahead to make sure we had our tables and set things up. It was while driving there that I had the accident. It was minor and no one was hurt. I am thankful for that. However, this was my first car accident since receiving my driver's license. I was pretty upset. To compound things, I did not have car insurance coverage for me at the time. Only my husband had insurance coverage. I was stressed and upset to say the least. And I was definitely having thoughts of why did this have to happen, I wish it I could go back and change this, etc. I was having a hard time relaxing and enjoying my daughter's birthday. My friends helped me to relax and put it behind me for the rest of the day.
By the next day when I was home alone with my daughter I started thinking about what had happened and what it was going to cost us. Now my husband and I did not have much money at the time and because of this we were living with family. I began to worry about how we were going to pay for the damage to the other person's car and what would happen with our insurance. All of these thoughts brought feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. I felt like I had made a huge mistake that was going to cost our family more than we could pay. I didn't know what to do and I just wanted to disappear. I became overwhelmed by the thoughts and feelings and didn't believe there was any way things would be okay.
It was in the mist of these depressing thoughts and feelings that an idea came to me. At the birthday party one of my friends had mentioned that her job was hiring. Maybe I could see if I could get a job there and then use the money to help take care of these expenses that were coming from the accident. I called my friend and asked her about the job, got an interview and started work within about a week.
This was the first of the many changes that took place in my life. My husband and I talked with the other driver and were able to handle it outside of our insurance and pay for the damages ourselves with my first pay check. I was added to our insurance policy. I loved my new job. I was working with two of my best friends and the work environment was fun, not to mention the additional income. With this new income my husband and I were able to save money and move into and furnish our new apartment. An added benefit of being able to be self-reliant was an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence. My increase in self-confidence gave me the opportunity to move up in the company as well. We were able to buy a brand new second car. We were no longer living pay check to pay check. We could buy things without the worry of how to pay for it.
There have been times when I have looked back at the day of the car accident and all of the stress and negative thoughts and feelings I experienced because of it. The thought comes to mind that I wish it had never happened but then I stop and think; where would I be if it had never happened? It was because of that car accident that I took action on talking to my friend about her job hiring. It was the desire to be able to pay for the accident that made me act quickly in getting an interview and getting hired. It was this job that gave our family the financial freedom to move out on our own and be self-reliant. If I were to wish away the car accident I would be wishing away all of the good and the blessings that came into my life because of it.
Now I know that there are many things in life that are hard and difficult. Every moment you bear these things can feel like torture. It can be embarrassing, frustrating, irritating, depressing, and maddening. These experiences can leave you feeling depleted and hopeless if you let them. But have you ever thought that maybe it is just a means to bring you something greater.
For example have you heard of Annette Kellerman? She is the Australian born female swimmer who made it acceptable for women to wear one piece swim suits and is the basis for the Esther Williams movie "Million Dollar Mermaid". Annette Kellerman had a disability in her legs that necessitated her wearing leg braces. In order to help strengthen her legs she was given swimming lessons. It was these swimming lessons that strengthened her legs and lead her to become a world renowned swimmer. If this were you would you wish away this disability and all that came because of it?
Have you heard of Bethany Hamilton? She is the female surfer from Hawaii who lost an arm in a shark attack. Her story is told in her movie "Soul Surfer". There are many other stories like hers and Annette's in the world that I could use to further confirm the concept I am sharing with you. I am willing to bet that your own stories can be counted among them if you are willing to look more closely. For the things that you have been wanting to wish away are the very things that have brought you your blessings. I know this to be true in my life and in countless others that I have seen firsthand or witnessed through accounts of their experiences by book, movie, talks, etc.
Life is hard sometimes and our experiences can feel difficult and overwhelming. Life is this way not because it is trying to break you but because it is trying to make you. A plant that is grown in temperate weather and climates tends to grow shallow roots so that when a storm does come it is generally up rooted and dies. A plant that grows in stormy weather tends to grow deep roots so that when a strong storm comes its deep roots hold firm allowing it to make it through and then enjoy the calm and beauty that comes after the storm is over. Your experiences are the same. They come to grow strength and adaptability in you so that you can enjoy the blessings that come after.
So take a moment and rethink how you are looking at the things of your past or even the experiences you are having now. Because what feels like the worst thing ever may just be a blessing in disguise.