How Fortunate

I hope everyone had a blessed Memorial Day yesterday. For those of us who have lost loved ones, close family members and friends we all know everyday is Memorial Day. No matter where one might be in the grief process rare is a day that goes by without thinking of our loved ones who have made the crossing of the river Jordan before us.

Live long enough and tragedies will occur for all of us, that is for sure. At 50 years old now I can look back on my life and point out quite a few unfortunate things. Each occurrence being something I never would have chosen, often never predicted and certainly very painful.

Many of us can look back and see tragic loss of loved ones, accidents, divorce (parents and you), mental/physical illnesses, mental/physical abuse, substance abuse, job losses, small fortunes won and lost, prejudice, bullying, socioeconomic status ranking, and more. Each event being most unfortunate for us at the time and never something we asked for.

Many of you know I love the study of stoicism, stoic philosophy. The stoics have much to say and infer regarding trials and tribulations. With the main theme being on our individual response to the event... not the event itself. For if we don't learn and grow from the event we've sort of wasted all that pain. The stoic recognizes troubles, adversity and unfortunate events as an opportunity, an inflection point. Even that first step... to recognize troubles as opportunities... has been said to be worth more than gold.

For me personally I can reflect back on all those aforementioned unfortunate events in my life and with the clarity that slowly evolves over time start to see and recognize how these events in many ways were good for me. This realization certainly does not take the pain away but it does usher in gratitude and a bit of understanding... recognition that this is a journey of refinement and honing of my inner self. Just as the "unfortunate" events were good for me... I can also see how the "fortunate" events often times were not ultimately "good for me".

With age and the wisdom which comes with it I find myself reticent to judge any event as "good" or "bad". But instead fancy myself as sort of a "treasure hunter" looking at each event and trying to find the treasure (or dangers) hidden within. So when things suck, they suck... accept it and try to grow from it... when things are swell understand they won't be for long and continue to train and ready yourself thereby fighting complacency. My most dire circumstances just might be my most fortunate set up for future growth. That's the attitude I try to cultivate... the greatest constraints set you up for the greatest feats of overcoming. How fortunate.

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