I do not understand affliction. I had a friend once who told me that life “was nothing but beans and hard times.” Him and his wife had given birth to two deaf-blind children because of a recessive gene they both had…. the odds were incredible against that happening. I forget the numerical odds exactly but something similar to the odds of getting hit by lightning. He didn’t understand affliction either.

Things happen. To you…. To me… To everyone. Adverse life events they call them. Science even is beginning to believe that “what happened?” actually has something to do with the way we lead our lives and the people we become.

Pain counts. There are many things hard to find in this life. Tragedy is not one.

I have talked often in this blog about the tragedies I have known. I have met many who have known far worse things than me and am in continual awe of the human capacity to meet terror and pain with courage and quiet faith.

For me, at its worst, the most difficult thing is the tenaciousness of tragedy. It never wants to leave. Its footprint too easily is seen in each new day. Coping sometimes seems a miracle, but it seems sometimes a miracle that has to be redone each day.

Feeling bad makes me feel like a failure and I often feel bad. Trauma often feels new and alive even when it is neither. It is not that it was once where I was as much as it seems like where I still am or where I am about to go.

Things do get better with time sometimes. Life sometimes captures our hurts and puts it on the back burner of a busy stove. Things that once felt like everything are dissipated by perspective. And things are more than what they make of us. We can also make of them.

Someone today told me a wise thing. “Sometimes we are hurt and hurt badly. Sometimes we are changed and sometimes in ways we hate with a passion. Trauma though even when it changes us doesn’t condemn us. We can find restoration, sometimes in small and slow steps. It doesn’t mean things are not hard or that we don’t take steps backward. It means we can take steps and what we do matters. ”

” Adverse life events” tell us many things about ourselves, other people and life in general. But no matter how compelling, how loud or how emphatic they are not the final verdict. That is always on us.


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