“No problem lasts forever. No matter how permanently fixed in the center of our lives it may seem, whatever we experience in this ever-changing life is sure to pass. Even pain. Difficult situations often bring out qualities in us that otherwise might not have risen to the surface, such as courage, faith, and our need for one another. All of our experiences can help us grow.”
– From the Al-Anon Daily Reader, Courage to Change
A friend of mine sent this to me a few weeks ago at the beginning of the Corona social distancing. These words felt particularly applicable and, when I asked him who wrote it, I was surprised to learn that it was from the Al-Anon Daily Reader. Al-Anon is a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. Participants in Al-Anon share common experiences and support one another to affect positive change.
Alcoholism is vicious disease. As someone who grew up around alcoholism, I can attest to the ways that alcohol creates endless uncertainty. You’re often walking on pins and needles. You never know if you’re doing the right things. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the situation changes on you and you have to figure out a new way to adapt.
The Coronavirus is creating very similar circumstances to what I experienced as a child, which is why the words from the Al-Anon Daily Reader resonated with me. The first thing I know to be true is that no problem lasts forever. Even when you are in the deepest, darkest hole and you can’t see your way out, as long as you persevere, then you will eventually find your way to the light. It might not be easy and it might take longer than you expect, but there is always hope for a new and better day.
As hard as it was at the time to endure those trials, I would never trade those experiences for anything. They shaped me into the person who I am today. My hardships forged within me a gentle and compassionate heart for those who are struggling. As it says in the Al-Anon Daily Reader, difficult situations often bring out qualities in us that otherwise might not have risen to the surface.
Therefore, I pose the question to you: What are these hardships bringing out in you? Are you rising to the occasion, by trying to be your best self? Are you digging deep to discover those parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed or were lying dormant? How do you feel God is using the events of the last few weeks to reshape and remold you?
In Genesis 50, when Jacob dies and Joseph has the opportunity to bring harm to his brothers who sold him into slavery, Joseph says, “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.” (Gn. 50:20)
The God I believe in takes every bad thing and uses it for good. I hope we can do the same. Amen.