Bad Experience or Blessing in Disguise?

Bad Experience or Blessing in Disguise?

Bad Experience or Blessing in Disguise?
Photo by Stephen McNally

Bad Experience or Blessing in Disguise?

Life doesn't always go the way we planned. Who do you know has his whole life mapped out and everything happened the way he wanted it to? You probably don't know anyone like that.

Sometimes things happen to us and we wonder, "what on earth is going on?" or "why didn't that work out?" or "why me?" Maybe we found the perfect job, but we weren't the chosen candidate. Or we finally got an opportunity to apply for a job we had been waiting for but then something held us back from applying. Or maybe we are trying to sell our house, but no one is interested and all other houses around us are selling like hotcakes. Or maybe we had an idea of how easy something was going to be but it turned out to be near impossible. Or how about something more serious like a carbon monoxide scare? No one plans for a carbon monoxide scare, believe me.

Whatever it is, we had an idea of how something would go and either something totally different happened or it didn't go as well as we had planned.

The thing is, we're usually caught up in the negative side of things that we fail to see the good things that come out of our misfortune. When we feel like our whole world is crumbling apart, perhaps everything is actually falling into place. It's hard to see, especially if we're just focused on the here and now.

The concept of the upper and lower story comes into play here. The "lower story" is the story that we see. While we're experiencing life in the present, we are going through the lower story. This is where we ask "why is this happening to me?" But the "upper story" is the story where all of the puzzle pieces of the lower story fit together. It takes us longer to figure out the upper story because we don't always know the reasons for why certain things happen. Farther down the road, we start to see that all of the puzzle pieces of the lower story fit perfectly to create the upper story.  

We have to remember that misfortunes do have a purpose and they are usually for our good. Sometimes it is something that is meant to prepare us. Sometimes it is really something better than what we had planned or wanted. And sometimes it is a wake-up call. Without these experiences, how can we learn and grow?

My husband and I have seen the upper story at work numerous times. There were two houses we were interested in before we purchased our home in Frederick. Something held us back from buying those. And now, looking back, it all makes sense. While the house in Frederick gave us the ability to pay off the rest of our student loans, the house we were interested in in Johnstown would have been a money pit.   

And then when we had just gotten to Anchorage, we gave our potential new landlord a call. We were supposed to go check out his rental when we got into town. But as it turned out, the guy who said he was going to show us his rental when we got to town rented the place out to someone else. We thought we had everything lined up but then we had to scramble to find another place. And you know what? It worked out perfectly. We got the perfect riverfront rental cabin with an amazing view. And since it took us a couple extra days to find a place (mainly to make sure we were renting out the right place), we had to stay at an inn. That is where we met our new friends from Montana.

When we focus simply on the here and now, it's easy to get caught up in the moment and fail to see the good things that can come out of our experiences. It may take years before we figure out why something happened the way it did, but seeing things as a blessing in disguise helps us move on and continue to grow and learn.

Jody Calkins
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