"It's gone. It's all ashes."
I remember my dad talking to a local newspaper about our home that had just burned to the ground with all of our possessions in it. I was 8, my brother was 6.
"Nothing left but a chimney." He said.
At the time, it was obviously devastating to our family. In a matter of minutes, we were homeless and had nothing more than a few clothes and what my mom could grab from the house during the evacuation -- pictures, an overnight bag and our animals (except my goldfish, RIP Bubbles), that was it.
Years of memories, our toys, furniture, my mom's wedding dress, even my dad's motorcycle... gone. But something else that my dad repeated over and over also stuck with me:
"We have our family, that's what's important."
Amongst all of the loss we'd just experienced, he was teaching me about finding the silver lining without even knowing it.
Tremendous good came from that loss, looking back at it. The outpouring of support from our community was overwhelming. It taught me at the age of eight about charity, giving and selflessness and that will stick with me for the rest of my life and has even led me to charity work that I adore.
It also moved our family next to a lake, where some of my best childhood memories took place. Even though we lived in a very small trailer for a period of time, we had great neighbors and friends, some of whom we still keep in touch with today.
Good came from all of that bad and put my family on a path to where we are today. We may never know to what extent that horrible situation actually helped us.
I can look back at several shit-tastic situations in my life and see now how they actually helped me in the long run, no matter how painful at the time.
Two divorces taught me what I didn't want, and showed me more clearly what I did want, not only from a partner but also from myself. Not to mention, I appreciate my current husband so much, knowing what I know now about relationships and failure in marriage.
Getting laid off in 2008 forced me into my dream of owning my own business. Thank God!
Even the tragic death of my uncle pulled our family closer together and made us take a hard look at what we really had and how much we loved each other.
Everyone goes through bad things in life.
I talked to a woman in my business several years ago, who told me about her heart-wrenching story of being raped and beaten in her early 20s. By the time she was finished telling me her story, the only words I could manage to muster up were those of apology and regret that, that had happened to her.
Her response astounded and confused me at the time. She told me not to feel sorry for her. She was actually glad that it happened.
"What? Glad that you were raped?"
I thought maybe her elevator didn't quite go to the top floor when she said that. But then she explained that she was on a path that wasn't good and it took that level of trauma to wake her up and change her life forever.
Until that day, I wasn't able to see my own past trauma as "I'm glad that happened." Major mindset change. MAJOR.
What seemingly bad situations have you had in your life? Can you find the good in them?
Knowing what I know now, I see present tough situations in a whole new light.