There was this one time, I got divorced.
Most people would probably say that was “bad”. There was a time I would have said it was; especially in the middle of it… “real bad” was the official rating, as I recall. I don’t like this + this is not the way things are supposed to be + this can’t be my life + what will be the rest of my life? = all “bad”.
That was a long time ago.
Almost 6 years on this side of it, I would say it was more good than bad. It was anything but neutral but to call it just, “good” or “bad?” At very best, is hard to say. It was many things. Was it terrifying? Yes. Did it shake me to my core? Absolutely. Did I feel like a failure? Completely… Until I didn’t anymore. Until God used it and healed me and created love in me that never existed before. Created compassion in me I didn’t have before. Created an understanding towards myself and others I didn’t have before. Forced me to find a way to forgive myself in a way I never had to before and brought me to a place where I had to accept that God’s grace wasn’t just enough for everyone else, but it needed to be enough for me too.
To assign “good” or “bad” in the middle of a trying situation is like publishing, printing and binding an incomplete story and calling it a book; it’s not done yet. That isn’t the end…
It’s a daunting feeling when your situation is in front of you, stretching as far as you can see. You can’t see where it will end, and that’s terrifying. The unknown of when it will stop and what it will look like when it does, can be overwhelming.
…Or is that what makes the present manageable? There is something beautiful to be “seen” in the unknown, and it’s that exact thing: that you don’t know. What you do know that this isn’t the end, and you don’t know what that end will be. So, what if the end is actually a blessing? What if changes your life forever in ways you could have never imagined? What if it’s potential you’re staring into instead of doom?
Seeing all of life’s “goods” and “bads” ahead of time would likely paralyze us from ever moving forward, knowing the trials we would have to endure. Without enduring them, how limp our characters and strength would always remain.
It is very difficult to appreciate the light in the same way if you’ve never been alone and afraid in the dark.
Difficult to see what depth of love that can be had, without ever experiencing the absence of it.
Sometimes absence and loss create value and appreciation that would never be realized otherwise.
Eventually you make it to the other side; whatever that looks like. And if you spent at least some time in that season allowing it to shape and grow and change you in ways that only that situation could, I hope that when you look back you see more “good” than “bad.” “Difficult” often does not equal “bad”. For me, eventually, it almost never does… but you have to get to the eventually part.
Scarcity creates creativity. Loss creates opportunities for love. Pain can create connection.
Nothing creates perspective quite like time and experiences so until you’ve gone down the road with both of those, let’s try to agree to not pre-publish our stories and instead just let them be, “good or bad, hard to say.”
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.