A recent ice storm in New England touched everyone in the northeast either directly or indirectly. It has impacted me personally and for a period of four days I was miserable as a result. Having had time to consider that occurrence I hope that you were miserable in a similar way as well. For what a wonderful gift misery and personal trial can be!
This storm along with the related difficulties and hardships that I faced are just a small piece of my overall human experience. Despite this the four days of being distressed and deprived of the most basic human needs was, in hindsight, a wonderful thing. If I had not lost electricity, refrigeration, heat and lights how much longer would I have gone without appreciating them? What great gifts they are to us. Gifts that we rarely consider. Gifts that when returned to us are greeted with joy. I wish you could have seen my wife turning the light switch off and on and giggling like a child when the power returned. That quite simply said it all.
Suffering without power for four days is one thing but what about life’s greatest of sufferings? Serious illness, the loss of a job or even the death of someone dear to us? Are we to rejoice in those losses as well? My opinion- even through the tears- is an absolute yes!
The reason we are sorrowful is because we have lost something or someone that was precious and dear to us. Something that we felt was rightfully ours has fallen away by the hand of God for our own good. A good that we cannot see and cannot understand. A good that we do not want to accept but must- for as it turns out we are not in control. But what a gift it was regardless of how fleeting it may have been.
I have suffered two great losses in my life thus far. One was the tragic loss of someone that I loved greatly. The other was the loss of a job that I loved too much. I have missed each of these two gifts every single day since I have lost them yet their memories live on within me and are part of my personal DNA. The suffering continues but it acts as a reminder to me of what great gifts they were to me- if only for a moment in time.
So in parting I offer to you this idea. The next time that you weep- the next time that you mourn- focus less on the pain and more on the joy of that fleeting gift that was yours for that moment in time.