Photo by Jonanamary

This may be the most radical thing I’ve ever said, even by my own standards, but I caught a glimpse of something that shocked me. Bad things, I saw in that moment of clarity, are miracles in disguise.

I’m not talking about death or illness–though I honestly know that they sometimes can be miracles–but about anything from a daily showstopper that makes us miserable to a life-changing event like a break-up or injury. They seem terrible at the time and you can’t possibly see any good coming from them, but given years or even hours of perspective and you realize that they forced you into a better outcome. I’ve often said that the two worst things that ever happened to me–my back injury in 1995 and the break-up of my marriage–were also the greatest turning points for me.

But I never thought of bad things as the normal way for miracles to occur.

What made me see this was very simple, yet personal. I made an effort to do something that was very difficult for me. VERY difficult. On my first three attempts, I was not able to get anywhere. Just stopped cold by an outside force. On my fourth attempt, I thought I had it, but I was blocked in a different way by a gatekeeper of sorts. This gatekeeper told me no three times. I gave explanations that were logical and serious and still got a no. I appealed to the gatekeeper’s sense of fairness and got a no. I scratched at the gatekeeper’s heart with an open truth and still got a no. The gatekeeper could not be bothered to help anyone and, frankly, just didn’t care. My requests meant 30 seconds of the gatekeeper’s attention, but it didn’t matter. I had been stopped cold. Again. And this time, there was NO getting any farther with these attempts. I would be forced to surrender, to give up, to let go of this thing I’d finally psyched myself up to do.

I called Shannon and asked her to meet me for lunch. I was a little distraught, and she was the only person who knew what I was working on. I needed somebody to help me keep a positive attitude and not give up, which I was so close to doing.

As I got out of the car at the restaurant where we were to meet, it suddenly struck me that there was another way to accomplish my goal, one I hadn’t considered. It would mean asking outside help that I reallllllllly didn’t want to ask. But I suddenly got that glimpse of nothing coming from my efforts if the gatekeeper had let me pass and that the best way to accomplish what I wanted to was through a different source. I would have to walk on a few more coals to make it happen, and I didn’t want to, but….

I turned it over to the Universe (as if the Universe hadn’t already taken it over!) to let it go one of a couple of different ways with requesting outside help, and that if the worst of them would bring the best results, I’d do it. And the worst of them, it was.

When I told Shannon, she immediately saw the same thing I had–that what seems to be a terrible thing and then an even worse thing is really a course adjustment to take you to the best result, to a positive outcome that could not have happened without a slew of bad things thrown in my path. Arriving at the desired outcome has been a miracle, but the miracle is in the awful twists that happened.

I can see the same pattern of bad-things-as-miracles in so many other aspects of my life–health issues, job issues, relationship issues. Sometimes they’re little miracles, like the disappointment of missing a phone call that would have resulted in a second date with the guy who was arrested the next week for beating up the woman he was out with. Sometimes they’re painful miracles, like the ending of a decade-long alliance with a colleague, right before she gets into trouble and takes down everyone around her. Sometimes it’s a credit card purchase that doesn’t go through and the next day, you find a much better product at half the price. Big and little, those bad things turn out to be miracles of all sizes.

If I change my mindset to look at bad things, as they happen, as potential miracles, how will that change my view of life? I’m thinking…probably for the better.


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