When “Bad Things” Happen

Let’s face it. Bad things happen to us. Sometimes we can see the cause of the misfortune and other times we are left with no person or no circumstance to blame. What do we do with this “bad thing” that has suddenly turned up in our lives? We can have a variety of reactions so let’s explore some of these and possibly why the darn thing happened in the first place.

We moved into our present home eighteen years ago. It has a full unfinished basement where we promptly filled it up with our unused and seasonal stuff. It is true that nature abhors a vacuum. We did not have the room in our old house for all the things that we have now. A nice clean or at least tidy space was not to be. As a result of this wall to wall chaos, we failed to notice some creeping mold in the back corner. My husband, who is down there every day at his work desk and very near the offending fungus, did not notice it until it had traveled from behind some boxes stacked nearby.

When it was discovered, we began moving things. Then we thought, “Why just move them? Why not get rid of some stuff?” Thus began a journey that is still ongoing. After moving and purging that small corner, we found the mold encompassed that entire lower wall plus behind the peg-board on the adjacent wall at the height of about two feet! We had been living with this stuff for quite some time. It could explain some of the various medical concerns we have experienced. It was a real mess.

The mold was the “bad thing” that showed up, but we could trace it back to the basement getting wet a few times over the years. The damp area could be accounted for by the way our yard slopes and the shape of our home. The extent of the damage could be attributed to our carelessness and hoarding habits. The various circumstances all contributed to the mess we found and the subsequent cleaning that ensued. These situations were going on for years but until it found its way into our awareness- near the desk- we happily ignored the stacked items we no longer needed, the puddling area in the inner corner of our front yard along with the mysterious aches and pains we both experienced.

People do not change willingly. There must be a catalyst. For us, in this instance, we saw this “dirty patch” on the wall. For others, it might be a spouse suddenly coming in and demanding a divorce. Another instance could be getting a failing grade on a test. The catalyst must be sufficient enough to propel the offended person into action but not enough to throw them into hopelessness. Ignoring the signs and symptoms of an impending disaster is what humans do best. The trick seems to be to learn from these less than comfortable engagements.

I personally believe that everything that happens either to us or around us is here to teach us something. There is value in the “bad things” that come into our lives. It is true that instances like our moldy basement could have been mitigated if we had done things differently in the beginning and going forward. The telling part of this story is our reaction to the “bad thing.” We didn’t yell or get huffy by blaming each other for the situation. We just set to work and did the best we could given what was to be done.

How do you react to “bad things” showing up? Our circumstance was mild, but your troubles could be worse. Does blaming and being overly angry solve the problem? Emotions are not inherently wrong, you need to feel them when they come up. When emotions get in the way of taking care of the business at hand, then it may be time for intervention or at least a time-out to be able to see the real issue.

To take it from the personal to the collective, are there issues in the news such as the environment, healthcare, finance, politics or wars that you deal with and consider them a “bad thing?” Much of these collective woes can be traced to earlier decisions that may have seemed reasonable at the time they were made. Again, the trick is how do we, as a collective, react to these situations and events? What is the lesson to be learned? How can this “bad thing” that has come into our world’s awareness be something that can be used for good? Can we find the value that is there and instead of placing blame or calling one group or the other names, use our stirred-up emotions to propel humanity forward together for a better future?

We are all here to learn from each other and from the events that happen to us. This is how we grow as individuals and as nations on this earth. To look at the “bad things” as merely a catalyst for us to change what is no longer working is to become free of suffering needlessly. Whatever the “bad thing” is, it can be made worse by our negative reaction. We can change our perspective when we hear or see things that hurt or anger us. We can look for the value so we can transform our lives and that of the world.

In my memoir- Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health- there were several “bad things” that showed up in my life. At first, I reacted negatively to these events. After a time and after a lot of inner work, I began to see the value of what was happening to me. To learn more about how I did this, you can purchase this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo.

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