Ernest Hemingway once said: “The world breaks everyone. And then many are strong in the broken places.”

When we go through adversity, it is not always possible to believe that everyone suffers loss and anguish. It feels and acts very personal when bad luck and bad experiences in life happen to good people.

Our first response is “Why me?” We can wonder if we did anything to deserve this punishment or this problem. We can feel resentment for others who are not suffering and wonder why the problems did not choose them. We can even add up all the bad, selfish and dishonest things that a certain friend or acquaintance has done and still has good health and a large bank account.

That’s not fair

Life is not fair. As a mother of six, I struggled at Christmas to make the gifts even go out to everyone. No matter how many times I counted and then made lists and then counted, on Christmas morning during the rampage of presents, paper, and toys, I would realize it hadn’t been fair. Someone had received a watch worth twenty dollars and someone had received a bracelet worth three dollars. Someone had gotten the exact doll they wanted and someone else had gotten the one that was in vogue last year.

We finally decided to acknowledge and joke that no matter what we did, it would never work out. But the joy was that you knew there was a good chance that one day it would be your turn to get exactly what you wanted. We often recited the battle cry of large families and preschools around the world; “You get what you get and you don’t throw a tantrum.”

Luck or life

Life is full of luck and also of changes and opportunities. As Ernest Hemingway said earlier, we all break down in some way and it is the broken places that make us strong.

Bad luck is described as an unforeseen event, a fluke, and yet good luck is described as prosperity, wealth, windfall, success, advantage, profit and triumph, happiness and blessings. It is often the luck that opportunities for growth and development come our way. When we have the opportunity to grow through loss, pain, and adversity, we will become stronger and more resilient. I know this to be true, because I have experienced it in my own life and in the lives of countless friends and family.

Questions to think about

  1. Do you consider yourself lucky or unlucky? Why?
  2. Have you ever said “That’s not fair”? Why?
  3. What do you think about when bad things happen to you?
  4. Can you look back in your life and recognize how a certain situation helped you grow personally and spiritually?

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