Destiny is a good thing to accept when it’s going your way. When it isn’t, don’t call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery, or simple bad luck.
We’ve all been there.
One bad thing will happen, followed shortly by another, and another…
And we ask ourselves, and any greater power we may also believe in, why. Why?
Comedian Tig Notaro is a notable recent example of this. In late 2012, all in the space of a few months:
She contracted a C. diff bacterial infection which placed her in the hospital for a month and resulted in a long recovery;
Her mother died suddenly from head trauma;
And she was diagnosed with breast cancer, resulting in a double mastectomy.
Three awful events, separated by very little time.
Any one of those things might easily take most of an entire year to even begin to recover from.
Up until that point in her life, however, Tig was a lesser-known comedian. She was on the successful side of the comedian career spectrum, but couldn’t have been considered a “star”.
Because of that series of dark turns, though, Tig was motivated to perform a highly personal show at her regular club during which she directly dealt with her cancer diagnosis in light of the other “bad luck” she’d just experienced over such a short timeframe.
This set became one of historic proportions among comedy circles, and went viral immediately.
If Tig’s luck hadn’t taken such a cataclysmic nosedive, what became the defining moment of her career might not have happened.
The darkest time of her life allowed her to shine brightest.
Steve James would not have founded KenyaRelief.org if his daughter Brittney hadn’t died tragically in 1998. Brittney had been sponsoring a young Kenyan boy through Children’s Relief Fund for several years prior to her death at 19. Steve’s new mission in life was born directly from the dreams of his daughter.
Had Anne Frank and her family not endured two years hiding in the “achterhuis” in Amsterdam, followed by months of horrors in Nazi camps, The Diary of a Young Girl might never have become one of the most impactful touchpoints of the 20th century.
Out of pain, overwhelming pain, something good can come.
There is no real comfort in knowing that, but in knowing that there can at least be some hope.
If life deals you the worst hand imaginable, no matter what it may be, it may not be the end.
Bad things may or may not happen for a reason…
They may or may not be caused by you…
But no matter how little control over your life it might seem you have, you will always have some measure of control over the ultimate outcome of those events.
You influence the results of misfortune either by how you influence those around you or in what you choose to do after the misfortune has befallen you.
Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.
-William Shakespeare, Henry VI
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