A Moment in My Life – Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Every cloud has a silver lining, but while I’m in the midst of chaos, that’s the last thing that I think of. With everything that goes wrong, and the bad situations we encounter, were there a silver lining in the midst? Taking a step back, I realize that sometimes, especially when we’re in the heat of the moment, it takes a little longer to recognize any good from the situation. It’s not that it wasn’t there. It simply means that I didn’t see it right away.
A week ago, a reader of mine tore my new short story to shreds. Was there a silver lining? If there was, I sure couldn’t see it. She challenged me from my title choice to the specific words I used, the theme and plot, and finally, how the story ended. It was just a fun little romance. That’s all I intended! Did it deserve the guillotine? I say, no, but I’m partial. I gather she found no redeeming value in what she read. In the end, she never said yay or nay, but based upon what she said and didn’t say, my assessment? She hated it. That’s fine. It’s her prerogative.
It’s always good to receive honest feedback, but it hurts on many levels when it’s brutal. You can only soften the blow so much. I keep thinking of the advice I got years ago, that I need to get a thicker skin to survive as a writer. No kidding!
There was a silver lining derived from this incident. Had this not happened, I would not have asked others to read this story and tell me what they thought. None of them knew why I asked. Each of them commented with varying degrees of favorability. There wasn’t a single negative. You know how it goes when you get a bunch of positive and one negative feedback, you can’t disregard that one negative? That’s what happened here. As much as I appreciated the positive feedback that lifted my spirits, that one was like being sliced repeatedly with a newly sharpened sword. Self-doubt tormented me. Could all of these people be wrong, and the one negative be right? It took me a while, but the answer was a resounding no.
When I think back, I see a silver lining in many of my life’s events, such as getting a sudden heart attack the day before I flew out of town for my family reunion. Had I gotten on that plane, I wouldn’t be here to talk about it. I was in bad shape. The medical staff treated me like I was fragile. Later I learned that was because I was weeks away from another heart attack. I needed a bypass, but they deemed it too risky to open me up. My heart was such a mess that a team of doctors deliberated for two days bringing in more doctors as they couldn’t decide the course of action. Finally, the consensus, send me home with a treatment plan to allow my heart time to heal enough to withstand surgery in three months.
I prayed that God would heal me and spare me from the bypass, and I did everything I could from changing my diet to plant-based and exercising daily. Three months later, my heart improved enough to avoid surgery. Another couple of months later, my heart improved miraculously that my cardiologist couldn’t tell I ever had a heart attack. The silver lining? First, missing my flight out. Second, my heart was in such bad shape that they couldn’t operate. Ultimately, I healed without surgery. Thank God for that!
These two moments in my life remind me candidly that there are silver linings in every situation. If I had doubts, I’ve got many more moments like these. Silver linings offer us the chance to learn what worked and what didn’t, improve ourselves and our lives, connect with people, and appreciate every opportunity to experience life and living. Silver linings are in everything and a gift from God. Take a step back, and there it is.