They say there are people whose sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others. That may be cynical, it may be funny, it may also be true. A stressful day, a long week, a seemingly endless quest for a new spot in life can all be put into perspective when we stop wallowing long enough to listen to another. You may be frustrated by a 10-hour workday. Talk to a friend who has been jobless for 9 months. You may be bored to tears by the repetition of your same-thing-different-day routine. Listen to the girl whose brother is on life support in the hospital. You don't want to hear one more story about someone you know being sick, losing their job, or getting divorced. Then you realize you are healthy, employed, and have people who love you.
It's usually right in the thick of those trying, painful situations that we are told "everything happens for a reason." Is the reason ever simply to serve as a reminder to others? Is it fair that one suffer in order to help another see the good in their life? Perhaps reminding others of their good fortune is not the sole purpose of these heart-wrenching days and weeks.
There is more to it. These periods are a part of life. They teach us what it is to struggle, what it is to carry on, to put one foot in front of the other. They teach us hope, recognitition that eventually, some day, things get better. As long as we do not sit idly by and let the troubles repress us into inaction, we will come through it and this too shall pass. It teaches us resilience- shows us we are strong and capable of making it through the tough times. We are better able to savor the sweet parts of life once we have chewed the bitterness of tough times.
No one looks forward to the hard times. No one wishes them upon the people they love. But if we are lucky enough to have the people in our lives and the gratitude in our hearts to recognize what wonderful things fill each unique day, we can take every day as a gift, a lesson, and a blessing given only to us.