How do you react when you hear “Look for the silver lining” or “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? The former is a phrase I have used with friends or family when doing my best to support them.
I’ve also had both of those sayings told to me many times, too and believe most people mean them in a heartfelt way. But I’ll be honest with you, I have said those words when I really didn’t know what else to say, or when I really did not understand their situation but wanted to convey that I sincerely cared about them and wished the best for what they were going through.
Today, those platitudes have a deeper meaning to me. Even though unwanted circumstances are inevitably going to be a part of living, I have found that when the darkest of times are met with an open heart and mind, there is an opportunity for us to learn and grow. When we no longer live in the pain of the past (wishing we’d done something different), and when we no longer fear or worry about the future (or pin our hopes on tomorrow), but truly accept that the moment we have is today, right now, in this breath -- we can find gratitude. And we can even find joy.
At multiple times throughout our life, we are going to be handed unwanted situations, in various forms and degrees
One example I can give you is the day, no, the exact moment I found about my daughter. In that same breath of a moment where shock washed over me, I also felt a profound sense of relief. I now understood what was happening with my daughter, the behaviors and suffering she was exhibiting made sense! I was immensely relieved and thankful that the truth of what happened to her was no longer her silent burden. In the same moment that I was experiencing intense shock and pain, I was also experiencing gratitude for the truth being unveiled.
Sure I still have days where sorrow, guilt or grief find their way to me. On those days, I bring myself back to the present moment and all the things I am grateful for right now, including: That my eyes are now opened to the abuse that happens in our world and to our children. That my daughter no longer has to hide behind a terrible secret, carry this burden alone, and for the bridge we are building back to each other. That I have a husband and other children who are tremendously supportive. And that I am the person I am today because of (not in spite of) all that has happened.
So the next time you hear (or want to say to someone), “With every cloud there’s a silver lining” maybe you will now have a deeper connection to, understanding of, and intention when hearing or using those words.