“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Dr Suess
Has anyone ever asked you what the one thing in your life you would change in your past if you could? What did you answer?
When I have been asked this question, my answer is while there is pain in my life I would rather had not experienced, I would not change it. I think about changing some of the pain that my kids suffered, but then I think about it more.
The reason I wouldn’t change it is because it made me the person I am today. In each storm, the thunder and lightning and the pouring rain made a change in me.
I got to see that suffering is truly optional.
I experienced an deep understanding that you don’t die from tragedy.
I gained empathy for others. I saw the steps that led them to create tragedy in someone else’s life, and I saw that most people don’t realize the consequences of their choices until they have created the hot mess that results. I have seen people fall down a metaphorical cliff and then climb back out.
I am inspired and amazed by other people’s stories. How they take personal tragedy and create an amazing life. A girl goes blind and becomes a marathon runner. Someone who is born without arms or legs goes to high schools and talks to kids about living life to the fullest and how suicide is not the answer. People who would have every justifiable reason to rail against god, turn what we would think as a tragedy into an inspirational journey through life.
So when I think about would I change even my children’s suffering, I pause. I don’t know what that tragedy has changed in them. I don’t know what that tragedy will mean for them in their future. If I took that anyway would they be a weaker person and not able to face something that is still to come?
So my answer is like Dr. Suess, Don’t cry over what has happened, because this tragedy is like a building block. It creates a foundation not upon sand, but upon rock, so that whatever is coming through life’s storms will not be able to tear you down, because you are strong. You have learned from life’s storms to lean on the divine, to ask for help and support from true friends, and that what doesn’t kill you, really does make you stronger.
Life’s tragedies, these storms, may create rough seas, but after the storm is calm water. The sun comes out, the winds die down, and life once again becomes beautiful. Smile because you are victorious and something made new again. Smile because life really is a joyous journey, and you are somebody’s inspiration that they too will survive and thrive.
It is really hard to say this when you are still bleeding from the wound. But as time passes and you heal, that is when the recognition comes. You will see the broken places have healed and altered who you are and you will see the blessings that are there should you choose to accept them. I know that my sister is just now getting to that place from the murder of my nephew.I can see how she has changed, and it will be up to her to choose the blessing his death has brought her. I know what he death brought to me, an awakened spirit that is realizing how much she has yet to do on this earth. The beauty of LemonadeMakers, which has in turn stretched and grown me into someone I never thought I was capable of being, and the knowledge that I am continuing to grow and stretch with this new book I am writing. I can honestly say that without his death, I don’t think that I would be the person I am today.