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Leadership Thought #207 – Bad Things Do Happen

August 31, 2011

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of

I opened the paper this morning and the first thing I saw was a headline about a father who had run over his 3 years old son when backing out of their driveway.  What a tragedy.   It is every parent’s worst fear.  I cannot even fathom how the family is coping with the situation.  I only hope and pray they can find the strength and compassion within each other to make it through the darkness of their grief.

It is a sound reminder that terrible things do happen in life.  These times may test our emotional and physical fortitude, but we must persevere anyway.  There really is no other acceptable choice than to be resilient in the face of pain and to overcome adversity, even when it really hurts.

I have no idea why certain things happen in life.  The randomness of why some families must deal with extreme tragedy while others make it through comparatively unscathed can be hard to comprehend.  If you are fortunate enough to be given a reasonable amount of time to live your life, then do meaningful work and enjoy the love and company of other people.   When someone leaves too soon or abruptly, cherish the experiences you had with them and make sure you make the most of the remainder of your time.

I have no idea what lies on the other side of this earthly human existence.  It is a great unknown.  Many people claim to have the answers, but like all great mysteries, we won’t know the truth until we experience it ourselves.  All we can do is live our lives in a way that reflects our appreciation that the time we have is finite.  Think in terms of the legacy and impact you want to leave through your children and other close relationships.  Every day is truly a gift, offering a chance to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.

Sadly, sad things will always happen.  Nevertheless, we must decide how these situations will define us.  We get to choose whether we gain wisdom and continue to give love through the experience.  It helps to have faith in something bigger.  Of course, while you are mired in the immediate depths of grief and despair, these are hard concepts to embrace but it is the only way to heal and move on.