Thursday, April 03, 2014

Good Can Come Out of Bad Things

It's perfectly human to not want to experience bad things. But they happen anyway. The best thing I can offer as to why is we live in a messed up world. People are messed up. Weather disasters happen. Earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, blizzards, tsunamis, they all happen.

To top it off, we have to deal with other people. Some people snap and flip out and shoot places up. Some people do it more "civilized" and wreck the economy, leading to a lot of suffering. Some people trust those who wreck the economy, making the impact on their own lives even worse.

Churchian authors and speakers get a lot of mileage out of topics like "Where is God when it hurts?" I can't read the majority of them.

Let me boil it down for you. I've had bad things happen too. My mom died in 2006. I lost my job in 2010. I had to get a job in another state and not see my family much for a few years. Then after years of a bad marriage, I was forced into a divorce last year. Had to short sale the house, which wrecked my credit. Child support and alimony take a large portion of my paycheck away. And of course, I'm going to be paying on more than $20,000 in divorce debt for a very long time (apparently, I got off easy; the average divorce can run $50,000 or more).

All of these things sucked. They were emotional drains. They were hard to endure and required a lengthy healing process.

But I can tell you one good thing that came out of all of them: I found hope, encouragement, and healing from people who had been there before.

I've already written many times about how frustrated I was when other Christians came in with absolutely useless and frustrating advice like "You need to watch Fireproof!" or "You need to pray!"

None of them had been there, and had no idea what I was going through. And they'd heard way too many sermons from pastors who likewise had never been there either.

But I found people who had.

And through them, I saw hope. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I saw that eventually, the darkness would go away and things would get better.

I can remember in particular a former coworker that I had a long talk with one day. He'd gone through a hurtful divorce too. As part of his divorce, he had to short sell his house too. And within a couple years, he was married again, and living in a new house. Things were going better.

But he went through the darkness I did. He coped with his divorce process in some of the same ways I coped with mine, although his choice of booze was different.

Some people help in other ways. One day, a couple of coworkers saw I was struggling. They took me out to lunch and just let me vent. Months later, after the divorce was over, one of them took me out to lunch again to "celebrate".

I'm not going to try to tell you why bad things happen. I'm only going to tell you that they do. And that you too can find hope from people who have been through those bad times too.

Could you image being the only guy on Earth to have been through a divorce? The only guy to have ever been laid off? That would suck. You would have to blaze the trail all by yourself.

But you don't have to.

And while I would rather have never gone through any of those things, my hope is someday I can provide hope to somebody else going through them that yes, things will get better. You will heal. It will be nothing but a bad memory.

There will be times when advice is useless. Sometimes when a friend is hurting, just take him out for a beer, keep your freaking mouth shut, and let him vent.
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