Question of the Week

Q: Does anything good come out of bad times?

When you look back at the difficult, stressful, etc., periods in your life, can you now say something positive was a result? We know, of course, when neck deep in troubles, thinking “this is gonna be a blessing to me”, or anything positive is the furthest thought imaginable-maybe even suicide would’ve been a more welcome idea! Yet, in the back of your mind are you thinking, “hey, this too shall pass”? And, we’ve all heard the, “no pain, no gain” line.

I think I’m talking about more than just “a bad day”, as well as something short of a death of a loved one. Is the good automatically to be expected from times of trouble? Are tough periods in our life a requirement for the bestowing of some types of character traits? What benefits, if any, have arrived in your life due to these stressful times? Can we be our best only by experiencing some of the worse? Do you think only by walking through these dark tunnels could you see a certain kind of light? One thing I know is times of trouble are much more easily survived with the help of others. That assistance can simply be a quickie phone call or a brief note. Such a simple, brief act can, like a miracle, part the storm clouds and “let the sun shine in!”

Just thinking, just wondering. I can put down much more thoughts on this subject, but what y’all think?



14 responses to “Question of the Week

  1. Dianne/Miss H, mayb i’ll c if Vroman’s has that book 2day. Wouldn’t it be weird if the author is gonna appear at Vromans’s soon!?
    Ironic becuz 2day did not start good 4 me! (But will end good)
    What radio station kept you up last nite?

    And, AP, thanks mayor! Your blog…wow, I envy the time you apparently have to post all that info. But, if not, then can I borrow your ghost writer!

  2. Someone was reading aloud on the radio through the night. I listened off and on, it made me think of this topic again. Here is the book:

    when things fall apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
    By Pema Chodron

  3. Isadora, thank you for your input. I can agree with your view. However, I’m not at the point where I can usually “enjoy it as a challenge”. Probably not alone in this.

    I wonder what is most often the worst part of these periods of tribulation: Stress, anxiety, fear, etc!

    I assume you are Hungarian. You have a lovely photo blog. Makes it easy with Budapest as your subject. “Apples & Women”, is wonderful – are these your words?

  4. You are on the right track, Mike. My phrase is: there can be no victory without a battle – but the meaning is the same. None of us would chose to go through trials because it is not pleasant – yet, those are the times we grow and mature. It had taken me decades to understand and now actually enjoy it as a challenge – to see what God is trying to teach me.

  5. The thing is:

    “Perhaps, in childhood it would be helpful to be told we will “have trials & tribulations, but let not your heart be troubled.” Then again, maybe this would be too heavy for a child to bear.”

    Some children do have troubles too heavy to bear.

  6. Miss H, i could just say i knew this was your fav topic – but i’m not that creative a person. But, I’ve had clients in creative fields so maybe a tiny bit of themselves fell upon me!

    The “oil” which runs engines/creatively can command a high price in whatever form it takes. “Hard times” have consumed even the gifted rather than serve as a spark to light the way for others. And by hard times I don’t mean the occasional bad day, or the everyday troubles of life. We exaggerate our problems when we continue to go at it alone more than necessary.

    Perhaps, in childhoold it would be helpful to be told we will “have trials & tribulations, but let not your heart be troubled.” Then again, maybe this would be too heavy for a child to bear.

    “Cathartic art is often so personal it makes no sense to others.” For some reason i like this thought of yours. It seems to make sense but it also makes me want to meditate on it.

    There are so many struggling. We meet them everyday yet probably fail to recognize most – we see symptoms instead of the root. Over time I’ve become better at this. Unfortunately, there seems to be an abundance of people who appear to recognize only themselves.

    So, the suffering can suffer to the point of wanting to kill themselves. While the self-centered individual can be selfish to the point of taking the life of another, without just cause, thereby leaving a new seed of suffering behind with the loved ones.

    “There is a purpose higher than ourselves”, I wholeheartedly agree! Well, one purpose in my life is to hold accountable creatives such as yourself to your best creative self!

    I appreciated your inner thoughts. What’s your 2nd favorite topic?

  7. This happens to be my favorite topic, Life Observer.

    You’re talking about the oil that runs creative engines. I do not subscribe to the myth that suffering is required for any artist to be of note, but I will say, that for some of us creatively bent, it becomes a responsibility to use the same pain that comes to others (and ourselves) in expression. It is almost criminal of us to keep silent, if we have any ability at all.

    Cathartic art is often so personal it makes no sense to others. That is why, even when an artist may be in their own depths of suicidal depression, that the artist take care of themselves.

    Very important for anyone who holds a responsibility for expression: Do not allow yourself to become too tired, too hungry, too sad. Do not allow these things to creep in and overpower. There are too many voiceless, faceless suffering alone in the dark that need someone out there to speak up for them.

    There is a purpose higher than ourselves.

    Thank you for posting this.


  8. Jill, I understand your feelings re “stuck”, “life opens up again”, and “new skills”. Maybe this is a major source for procrastination. Your comments infer a life feeling closed. That sounds worst than may be…or maybe not?! I would say feeling stuck in some difficult period probably feels like, at the least, life is passing by, we’re not really a part of life. It can probably feel like a deep hole where no one but you are around. Or, people are all around but you feel like you’re in a corner away from it all.
    But, a light again appears, we jump back on the train of life-sooner or later. That light could be another person, anyone who cares. Perhaps, we need to reach out more, for a helping hand to unstick us, to help lift us outta the hole we suddenly find ourselves in. Maybe we vow never to let that happen to us again. But vows, unfortunately, can be broken.

    Ann, I and maybe many others, can sympathize with your experience with the death of your mother. And to go through a tough time while being the public face for the city of Pasadena can’t help. Sometimes only a death can bring back to life some part of your life that may as well have been dead. I can recall the line, “well, we seem only to meet at funerals! for some reason.” Tough, stressful extended periods, such as a death in the family, can bring out either the best or worse in people. Usually, it’s like an earthquake which grabs everyone’s attention and says, “hey, what’s going on here?!” People need to realize they need each other, at least as much as they need their pets…

    Thanks for your comments.

  9. With the death of my mother in January 2007 came a reuniting of my two brothers with my sister and me.

    My sister and I have always been close, but our brothers kept us at arm’s length and would only come to to big family events if we practically begged them to do so. They were of little or no assistance when there were big issues with our aging parents, but our mom’s sudden and unexpected death changed all that.

    I regret that she’s not here to see how we have come together in caring for our dad and how her sons have stepped up to the plate in a big way, but the good thing is that it has happened.

    I cherish my relationship with them.

  10. I think of it kind of like leveling up in a video game. When I’m really stressed out and down & having a hard time with life for a long time, I’m usually stuck somewhere. There’s usually something I haven’t figured out how to deal with. Eventually, I get unstuck and life opens up again and I have new skills for dealing with the thing that I was stuck with before. It’s like my body beating a virus — my immune system knows what to do next time if it sees that same virus again in the future. Doesn’t mean I won’t get sick with a different virus, but my immune system has more information than it did before. Usually when I get unstuck after a long period of deep stuckness, I have new skills and stronger, better ideas about how to navigate.