Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Two Sides: Same Coin

A friend in the fellowship uses the phrase, "Only good can come of this," as a mantra. What a great tool to frame, and thus neutralize, all the petty annoyances and tiny disappointments that life cooks up. Practicing this principle means that I can run a client's cancellation through my spiritual filter and view that hour as an opportunity for prayer and meditation rather than loss of income. If a sale falls through, I can tell myself that God has something better in mind. When a friend bitterly disappoints, I can love him anyway. But what about the big events? What about death, sudden death, with its gut-wrenching finality, attendant grief, and unanswered questions?

On the evening of Friday, November 22, my spiritual belief system was rocked. Having just emerged from a peaceful, late-night, rejuvenating meditation at the annual Women-to-Women Conference in Vermont, my dear friend and traveling companion received word, via a heart-wrenching phone call, that her 20-year-old son had been killed in an automobile accident. Intuitively, every woman present gathered around our mournful sister and prayed. However, when I review my state-of-mind in the minutes and hours immediately following the tragedy, I don't see a spiritual warrior. While I bowed my head alongside my sisters, my mind buzzed, self-will shot into high gear, and I grew impatient with prayer. My psyche side-stepped God and began the feverous preparations to pack up, check out of our hotel, and begin the arduous, four-hour long drive back to Rhode Island. Fear had me in its hold. Our literature tells us that fear is the chief activator of our character defects. In the weeks that followed, faith took a backseat while I orchestrated ways to protect my own children from the ravages of highway driving, drinking, drugging.

How then, in the face of incomprehensible tragedy, can I possibly extract a silver lining, a spiritual lesson from the pain? How does good come from tortured sorrow? One of our Promises reminds us we will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us, and what I've come to understand is this: expecting good to come does not mean that the opposite qualities--bad, dark, grievous--don't walk side-by-side. Metaphorically speaking, there are two sides to every coin, thus there is duality. For without the darkness, how can we experience the dawn?