I used to think I had a lot of wisdom to share with others. But it wasn’t until a horrific family tragedy of immense proportions that I began to re-think everything.

     In 2009, our 20 year-old son, Tyler was involved in a near fatal car crash that left him quadriplegic. It was while weathering this most tumultuous storm of my life, I began seeing glimpses of the paradoxically positive blessings hidden within what I perceived as one of the worst “tragedies” imaginable.

     All too often when confronted with adversity such as this, we tend to blame someone or something else for our misfortune. God might become the recipient of that displeasure. If not the one being blamed, often we ascribe harsh conditions in our lives to “God’s will”. Some believe that God punishes us for evil deeds we have committed in the past and that we deserve the heartache that comes our way. I do not personally subscribe to that conviction.

     I have come to appreciate that everything is in perfect order — even this life-changing experience my family is currently enduring. If you embrace this premise, then anything that happens simply cannot be a mistake; there can be no such thing as an accident or a misstep.

     Nothing can protect us from experiencing our share of dark days. We will all have them. But we can do something to transform so-called calamities into opportunities for growth, enlightenment and positive change. After all, our life experiences become calamities only if we make the conscious decision to make tragedies out of them.

     The difficult days I have experienced became the driving force of change. Rather than lamenting adversity, I chose to be grateful for it. I embraced and accepted it as a gift from the Divine, a marvelous learning tool. The gift I received certainly did not come enveloped in beautiful wrapping paper. In fact its package was so revolting that it was almost unimaginable what possible benefit could come from it.

     The gift I received, however, offered me a new way to see experiences, a new way to interpret adversity, a way to transform suffering into insight that ultimately helped to propel me onto a higher path. Within this gift were lessons that helped promote my spiritual development and maturation in ways I could never have anticipated. By being grateful for the adversity, I began seeing it as an opportunity to transform turmoil, disappointment, and suffering into understanding, insight, and resolve.

     Ultimately, I discovered that I had only two choices of how to respond to this father’s worst nightmare. I could either accept the gift for what it was or I could resist the offering. The more I resisted, the greater magnified the pain and suffering became. Resistance led to resentment. Resentment fueled and anger, turmoil and fear.

     It was only when I allowed myself to change the thought that meaning began trickling into my consciousness. Peace ensued and my transformative enlightenment began.

     This wisdom from the ancient mystical text of Judaism called the Kabbalah has forever reshaped my understanding of life: “The falls of our life provide us with the energy to propel ourselves to a much higher level.”

     It is the falls of our life we must embrace.

About the Author

Terry Gordon, DO, FACC

Cardiologist Terry Gordon, DO, FACC, is the author of No Storm Lasts Forever.

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