In the difficult are the friendly forces,
the hands that work on us.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
Every shift in our life comes courtesy of the friendly forces; every catastrophe can hand us exactly what we need to awaken into who we really are. It’s difficult, though, when you’re in the middle of a painful transition, to mine the experience for inner growth. And when your life falls apart, it’s a lot easier to blame someone else, to rail against fate, or to shut down to the hopeful messages carried on the winds of change. Sometimes, when friends try to help by saying, “There’s a reason for everything,” or “It’s a blessing in disguise,” you just want to run away, or you want to say, “Yeah, if it’s such a blessing, then why does it hurt so much?”
So, please forgive me when I say that everything that happens to us in life is a blessing—whether it comes as a gift wrapped in happy times or as a heartbreak, a loss, or a tragedy. It is true: There is meaning hidden in the small changes of everyday life, and wisdom to be found in the shards of your most broken moments. At the end of a dark night of the soul is the beginning of a new life. But it’s hard to accept that when you’re in pain, and it’s tiresome to hear about it from someone who’s not.
When I am on a bad stretch of the journey, I am most comforted by the stories of other travelers who have made it past the bumps and potholes. It helps me to remember that everyone is confused when the friendly forces come knocking; that there is no one alive who has not wanted to go back to sleep instead of making a big change; and that the journey from Once-Born innocence to Twice-Born wisdom is never easy.
~Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open