Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The value in all things

That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not. James K. Feibleman
I read today's quote on my good friend CZ's blog this morning and had to share it. It makes an important distinction. Everything does not always happen for the best. Regardless of what happens, finding value in all things is for the best.

It was not best for my daughters that I desert them when I was in the throes of the relationship with the man who was 'The Lie'. It was not best for me that I be in that relationship waiting to die.

In deriving value from those events we have turned what was a horrendous situation in our lives into something we can live with without fear and loathing today. In its value we have grown beyond the limiting belief that it was 'meant to be'. It wasn't. It was the frailty of my human being that put me there. It is in growing through it I have come to appreciate my right and responsibility to never be in such a dark place again, to never compromise my values, beliefs and worth again. In finding value in those events, I am being human for all I'm worth today -- and that has great value for me!

Growing up in my family of origin my mother would often say, "It's in God's hands." I always struggled to understand what she meant. Her passive submission to believing God would take care of her, or that it was His will that 'bad' things happen never made sense to me.

It was not God's will that put me into that relationship. It was my willfulness. My lack of courage to stand by my principles, to not compromise my values. God didn't put Conrad in my path to teach me a lesson. It was, however, in my refusal to accept my inherent greatness, my God given right to be great, that I eventually did learn my lesson.

Several years ago, my eldest sister J. and I organized a clinic for our mother to enter to help her with issues she was having around alcohol and prescription drugs. After 48 hours in the clinic my mother advised us she was going home. "I don't need this place," she told my sister on the phone when she called to ask her to come and take her home. J. called me to tell me of our mother's decision and I said, "I'll meet you there."

"You won't be able to change her mind," J. told me.

"I don't intend on trying," I replied.

When I arrived at the clinic my mother was sitting on her suitcase, arms crossed in front of her chest, a defiant look on her face. "You can't make me stay," she stated. "I want to go home. God will take care of me."

I searched to find value in the situation. "Perhaps God is taking care of you right now," I replied. "Perhaps he saw that you needed help and knew that this place was the best place for you to find it."

My then, eighty-year old mother paused. "Then why does he send some old man in here who lies on my bed and eats my grapes?"

"Perhaps that's not God's doing," I suggested. "Perhaps, the devil, in seeing you are getting the help you need, doesn't want you to break free. So, he's doing everything he can to ensure you don't stay in this one place that can help you."

She stayed and found value in the program. And we found value in her recovery.

It is hard when we are in the throes of life's turmoil to find value in the loss of those we love, in heartbreak and breakdowns. Yet, the value is there if we can breathe deeply enough to let go of our desire to control our feelings, our emotions and the situation. It is not for the best that someone we love die. It is life. It is what is. And sometimes, all we can do to cope with what's happening is to find value in remembering, "Now is not forever."

My eldest daughter and her boyfriend of five years recently ended their relationship. In her pain, she has decided it's time to move away. To start afresh in another city -- which will also further her career. It's a tough decision but a good one for her. Whether or not it is 'for the best' that she and the man she love break-up, she is finding the best in the situation and moving through her pain with dignity and grace. Yesterday she told me that one of her friends, inspired by Alexis' courage to move away and start out fresh in a new city, applied for her dream jobs. "I was scared to do it," her friend said. "But you inspired me. Thanks!"

Find value in all things.

There is value in all that happens -- it's what we make of that value that makes the difference in our lives today. When we focus on the negative aspects of 'what's going down', we fall into the trap of believing, 'This is forever. I am powerless to change'.

We are never powerless. We always have power -- to create change, to find value, to face truth and do the right thing.

It is in our belief that we are powerless that we let ourselves down.

It is in our willingness to claim our power to be accountable and responsible that we bring ourselves up to our higher good.


CZBZ said...

Thank you for writing your thoughts about this quote.

I hope you are comfortable with me reposting your essay on the WoN forum? I felt it would be very helpful to forum members who probably, like myself, got sick of hearing that 'everything happens for the best.'

It's a crazy cliche and my guess is that most people don't think it through before saying it. They just wanna console us in our grief...but for me, it made it worse.

I appreciate your insights, as always.


M.L. Gallagher said...

Hello lovely CZ,

Thank you! I am honoured you reposted!

Lovely to hear from you.