Benjamin Franklin didn’t quite get it right when he said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes“.
Not that what he said isn’t true, because it is. But there is one thing he forgot.
Bad things happen to good people.
Halfway through the article at Huffington Post, the dismal fact finds a glimmer of hope, with a reference to a quote by author Donald Miller from his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years:
“He said to me I was a tree in a story about a forest, and that it was arrogant of me to believe any differently. And he told me the story of the forest is better than the story of the tree.”
“This world is an enormous forest and we are but a tree within it. The story about the forest is much better than the story about the trees, and so it goes with humanity. When we focus on the fact that bad things happen to good people, we lose sight of the fact that infinitely more beautiful things happen every single day as well. The homeless man is given a chance at a job and a roof over his head. The barren couple receives news of a miracle pregnancy. A group of kids comes to the aid of a classmate being picked on. An alcoholic breaks the bonds of addiction and lands back on her feet.
These are the stories of the forest. The story of humanity as a whole making strides to become a better people and create a better place. When we lose sight of this we are like the person holding a penny in front of their eye to block the sun. We cannot control death. We cannot control taxes. And we cannot control bad things happening to good people.
But we can control our focus. We can take a step back from the penny and view the enormity and warmth of the sun. We can take a step back from the tree and view the complexity and beauty of the forest. We can continue to give back. We can continue to put others first. We can continue to care. For that is a story I can be a part of. Because the story about the forest is much better than the story about the tree.”
So despite bad things happening to good people. And despite that being an incredibly difficult truth to swallow, if we really are good, moral, caring people, shouldn’t we be able to avoid the reality of tragedy and despair?
We can take a step back from the tree and view the complexity and beauty of the forest…
Because the story about the forest is much better than the story about the tree.