The Hard Part, Being Thankful for the Bad Stuff in Life

November 23, 2009 at 6:48 pm 3 comments

During this time of year everyone is writing about being thankful for what we have. It’s so easy to take a moment and reflect on all the wonderful things that have happened to us over the past year and offer up thanks. Even if it’s just been a couple of things, we are encouraged to take a moment and give thanks. It’s easy; it just takes a little thought that’s all.

Does it get any worse than this?

But what about the bad stuff that’s happened in your life? What about the tragedy or the loss you may have suffered? The loss of income, perhaps a house, or loved one? Maybe you’ve gone through that experience recently. How does one be thankful for that? On the surface, it certainly doesn’t seem like something one should be thankful for, right? That’s what I want to discuss during this season. Why should I be thankful for the bad stuff that has happened to me in my life?

As many of you know, I lost my first wife in a tragic automobile accident several years ago. Since then, I’ve lost a job, moved to a new town, remarried, lost friends, gained friends, reconnected with family and all in all gone through more change than in the rest of my previous life, all in a short few years. Am I thankful for my wife’s death? Should I be?

Well, the answer is yes and no. Let me explain. Everybody experiences pain in life. It’s just a part of the experience. Without pain and sorrow we would never really know happiness and peace. It’s the way the universe is set up. As Sir Issac Newton put it, for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. It’s just the way it is. So no, I’m not thankful for my first wife’s death per se, but I am thankful for the experience and here’s why.

Her death got me to reevaluate my life. As I’ve written before we, as a couple, were in a rut. Our life together had become routine, lacking passion. We had a few dreams but all in all we were living a life of quiet desperation, or at least I was. After her death I was forced to look at my life and what direction it would take. Fortunately I started making some better decisions. I decided that I wanted to remarry, so I got online and met some people and found my second wife for which I am very thankful. Through her I added more family, more friends and at her encouragement reconnected with my Mother. I am very thankful for that. Because of the loss of my first wife, I decided, once I met my future wife, that I would move back to the Kansas City area. All these things I am thankful for and they have been great positives in my life.

Once all these changes occurred I out grew my job. Eventually I was let go which wasn’t a surprise but wasn’t the timing I had in mind. Loss of job is never a good thing but in retrospect I now can be thankful for it because it gave me the freedom to start my own business. Starting my own business required me to network and meet new people. It required me to join professional organizations, it required me to reach out beyond myself and live up to my potential. In other words it got me out of my rut. For that I am very thankful.

So you see, being thankful for the bad stuff is not hard as it seems, nor is it a bad thing. No, I’m not thankful for my first wife’s death or my job loss. I am thankful for the end results. I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. In five short years I have gone from being newly widowed to having my cup overflowing with love, opportunity, and hope.

Maybe that Newton fellow was right after all. Having experienced immense loss, now I’m experiencing immense blessings. Hope you are as well.

I wish you and yours a very blest and thankful Thanksgiving filled with love and peace!

Are you a small business owner who counts his blessings? Do you understand that from the bad stuff of life can come good? Do you see the current economy as just the cocking of the gun for a great future just around the corner? Then I want to partner with you and help you tell your story to the world. My contact info is:

Michael Irvin
Creative Project Manager
913.677.7060 cell: 913.530.7030

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David Templeman  |  November 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm


    What an AWESOME testimony! We were never promised that life would be easy, we were just promised that no matter what happened to us God would be there. He also promises that all things work to the good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). You are a living, breathing testiment that the worst of circumstances can lead to a renewed hope and happiness!

    Have a great Thanksgiving and thank you for the wonderful post.


  • 2. Steve  |  November 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Nice stuff, Michael. Somehow I know exactly what you are talking about. Happy Thanksgiving to all. And may we all find ways to be thankful for not just the good, but the bad…as Michael said — for what it makes us become. But only IF we choose to learn and grow from it. It’s clear that MIchael made that choice.

    I count he and his wife as dear friends and my wife and I are so thankful they have enriched our lives. Thank you, Michael and Chris!

  • 3. It’s going to be ok. | That Job Guy Dot Com  |  January 27, 2010 at 12:19 am

    […] a GREAT blog post about his experience of losing his wife suddenly several years ago.  You need to read it because it encapsulates what I’m trying to say here.  It’s going to be […]


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