By Mark E. Smith
I’m always intrigued when I hear people say, “Life isn’t fair.” It intrigues me because it’s simply never proves true in the long run. See, I’ve learned that while in the short term, bad occurrences – disability, divorce, job loss, addiction, you name it – can seem like they happen to us, they really ultimately happen for us – unexpected blessings that only come from adversity.
I remember in the mid 1990s, just such an example, where a terrible situation that initially happened to me, ultimately proved to happen for me, bettering my quality of life. I was in college and working, not making a lot of money, but enough to own my little 1,100-square-foot home in a borderline part of town. I felt blessed to own the home, but it was in no way ideal – it wasn’t fully accessible, and it needed a lot of expensive repairs. I couldn’t afford to replace the leaking roof, let alone renovate my bathroom to make it fully accessible.
To make matters worse, a big storm hit us, and although I lived on a hill, my side patio flooded, water pouring through the patio doors, filling my entire house with 6” of water. I remember the feeling of helplessness as I watched the water flow throughout my entire house within moments, destroying what little I had.
Soon, the water receded, and I was left with a horrendous muddy, soggy mess. The wall-to-wall carpeting was destroyed; the wall furnaces were destroyed; the sheet rock wicked moisture, needing dramatic repair; and, everything that was on the floor was soaked, from my wheelchair’s battery charger to my couch. I wasn’t sure how I could ever afford to repair my home, not having flood insurance.
However, while neighbors tore out my water-logged carpet and piled all of my destroyed goods on the lawn – my having no way to replace any of it – a FEMA claims inspector came along within a day or two. He assessed my property, and wrote me a several-thousand-dollar check on the spot. Within a week, I received another FEMA check, and with the help of my city’s building department, I was able to get a reputable contractor to start repairing my home.
But, here’s what’s amazing. As the city’s building inspector checked on my home’s progress one day, he noted my accessibility needs. And, within days, he had grant money for me to not only make my bathroom accessible, but to replace the roof and make other improvements. My home was ultimately in far better shape after the flood than before.
My point is, while the flood initially happened to me, it ultimately happened for me. A terrible occurrence was the catalyst for ultimate blessing.
If you truly look at the floods in your life – that is, the adversities that happen to you – you’ll clearly see that they are really happening for you in the end – winter always ushers in spring. I know, you may be thinking, Mark, bad thing after bad thing just keeps happening to me, there is nothing happening for me.
You need to look a little closer, that’s all – and you’ll see how turmoil always leads to triumph. Closed doors always become open doors. My dysfunctional upbringing didn’t happen to me, it happened for me, making me constantly strive to be a better father to my daughter. My ended marriage didn’t happen to me, it happened for me, placing me on a much healthier emotional path that’s brought greater levels of love, laughter, and contentment into my life. My cerebral palsy didn’t happen to me, it happened for me, instilling countless lessons within me as to the extraordinary potentials within all of us.
Really, we should each possess a bring-it-on! attitude, where we know that life plays its roles in magnificently mysterious ways, where vying always leads to victory, where turbulent times are merely life’s good graces getting ready to come our way. The next adversity that you face, remind yourself that nothing happens to you, but for you, where closed doors open, and a flood of prosperity and success are coming your way. Have faith and patience, and you’ll be amazed at how the tides in your life turn.