I can’t think of a time in my life when more turmoil has been going on. Selling a house, building a house, health scares, my son is about to become a teenager, my daughter is about to drive, ad nauseum. Yet in spite of all of this, life is good. Very good. Or is it?
I was recently discussing this turmoil with an older friend who said something that stopped me in my tracks. He consoled me for having to go through such a difficult time and then said that, in looking back, he’d had similar periods in his life and they were always the worst times for him.
Until he described my circumstances as “difficult” I hadn’t even looked at them that way. But what really stunned me was his evaluation that these situations were the “worst times of his life.” This got me thinking…
How do we really know when a given situation is the “best thing”, the “worst thing” or anything other kind of “thing” that has ever happened to us? Is it obvious? I don’t think so.
Recently one person told me that his three-month-old marriage was the worst thing that ever happened to him. Another told me that getting cancer was the best thing that ever happened to him.[sociallocker id=”1846″] Excuse me? Since when is getting married “bad” and getting cancer “good”?
Is it just opinion? Is it something else?
How do we know? How do you know?
After all, events and circumstances don’t come with labels that say “good” or “bad” on them. They just come and we add the labels. Good. Bad. Best. Worst. But how do we know? How do we come to these conclusions?
Well, over the last week or so I’ve asked over a dozen people how they know. Without fail, here’s the gist of the answers I received – time will tell.
Of course! It is so obvious. Time will tell!
Eventually we will be able to look back at the events of our lives and it will be obvious to us whether an event was good, bad or something in between. All we have to do is wait.
This makes complete sense. It also makes complete victims of those who believe it.
Yes, time will reveal things we cannot possibly know in the present, but time doesn’t have to be what determines whether an event “is” positive, negative or even irrelevant to our lives. We can make this decision. Or to be more accurate, we can decide how we will hold the events in our lives, right now, right where we are, and we don’t need “time” or anything else to tell us what to think.
No matter how “dark” things may seem right now, or even how “dark” things may in fact turn out to be in the future, we can consciously decide how to hold and act upon them in the present. And with this one decision we can often even change the course of the future.
So is something a gift or a curse? Is all the turmoil in my life right now going to turn out to be “the best” or “the worst” time of my life? I don’t have to wait to find out. I’ve already made my decision.
As I said before, life is good. Very good. I don’t need “time” to tell me anything.
Neither do you.