We follow an Irish girl vocal group called the Henry Girls. They sing a poignant ballad called “How Do You Know?” The main question posed by the lyrics is: How can you tell if an event or a situation is good luck or bad luck? Sometimes we are quick to judge that we are experiencing bad luck when later on, in hindsight, we can see the blessings we have gained because of what happened. Often it turns out that, really, it was good luck. The song is remarkably thought-provoking.
Rascal Flatts “Bless the Broken Road” expresses a similar sentiment. Pondering the chorus “Every long lost dream led me to where you are,” has particular insight and meaning for me. The greatest blessing of my life, Arden, appeared in my life a few weeks after I moved home to rebuild my own broken road.
We all have dreams and expectations about outcomes. Currently, there is a popular movement to use positive affirmations and visualizations to guide and create the life we are seeking. I believe that this is good because these positive views of the future can help us keep moving forward. But I also believe that what happens when things don’t turn out as we had planned is just as important.
I was a competitive figure skater in my youth. Achieving the senior level in ice dancing took years of intense and dedicated work. I fell down many times every day. Sometimes it hurt. A lot. My coaches helped me learn a valuable lesson. Evaluate what happened. Figure out what to do to fix it so that there is a positive outcome. Sometimes I simply needed to persevere, working harder and longer. There were other times we just needed to re-choreograph that section and do something different.
Our lives can be similar. Sometimes we or our loved ones have health problems. We get into car accidents. We lose our jobs or people leave us. We feel that our life is shattered because we won’t achieve our original goal.
Find a new vision, set a new goal, create a new path. This is not easy and it does take time and effort. It is worth it. Even four decades later, I still remember what it feels like to skate a perfect four minute program. The hours of blood, sweat and tears were not forgotten. They were the reason it was so amazing.
It is important to take an objective look at your life. Write out your goals, including a plan on how to get there. Start working your plan. Then when the unexpected happens, re-evaluate, re-frame and keep moving forward. That way you can find the balance of flexibility and strength in your life. You will discover that some of your greatest blessings were found on that unexpected path.
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