“That’s good, that’s good,” was what one executive would say when someone reported to him what seemed to be bad news. But then the executive set out to find the good was ultimately hidden in the bad news.
I have tried this. It’s very hard to do. I’m not a real positive person to start with so it seems doubly hard for me to follow this pattern. Time is the ultimate factor in this process. One must become very patient to see the good.
I have been granted a long enough life for me to see the good come out of the bad so I have what we call personal experience. I always thought I had control of many situations. I found that the only real control I have is only over myself, my own actions. Outside of that God is in control and hopefully He helps me to keep control of myself.
Those who think they are their own God are a very lonely person. Their ego makes them think they are in control of their life. At best, that’s a big illusion. At worst, it is a very egocentric misunderstanding. I look at the unique beauty of this world and because of all the scientific discoveries, I realize that life in this world is more complex than our best understanding of it. So many different things had to be just right for all this to happen and with each new discovery comes more pieces of this complex puzzle of our existence and how vulnerable we are to all these circumstances that enable us to live and all the other living things all around us.
Man did not create this world. The complexities are way beyond our ability to even comprehend all the factors that had to take place. The more we learn, the more we are captivated by all that had to happen before we and all the various varieties of life on this planet could even exist. Science has done nothing but revealed parts and pieces of the total picture.
A personal note: At 16 I went through a terrible time of extreme doubt. Doubt about everything. I was sitting on a park bench when a leaf floated down and came to rest at my feet. I loved biology and had studied the great factory in each leaf, how it turned sunlight into energy, how the rain and soil all worked together to make a tree. Then I looked up at the dense tree line in front of me and realized how many of these little energy producing factories were all around me and I had nothing to really do with this miracle. Our best technology couldn’t create a leaf out of little or nothing yet the world was full of these life giving factories with the varieties and shapes that were so unique. That’s when I realized that there really was a God and His knowledge was way, way beyond my ability to really understand or comprehend. I realized I was not the center of this all, yet, in no small way I was very much part of it all, at least for the time I was given here.
From that time on, my life and existence has been a series of unexplainable miracles. My wildest dreams became my reality, yet with it all, I realize that all this was a gift I had very little to do with its outcome recognizing that the truth about the world and how I was a part of it, not the focus of it, but a part of the total picture. I knew right from the beginning I would never rule over any part of this world nor did I want to, that I knew was never my calling but I was to be a helping part of the total picture for the time I was here. Each day is like a page in a very big book and with each page part of the total story is revealed to me and I see my place in this story a little clearer each day.
Also every day I learn something about myself. Often it is something I should do better. I work on it with a few small successes. Often I repeat my mistakes so it just points out that I have to work harder. I know I will never do anything perfectly but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t keep trying to reach at least a small degree of perfection.
As an artist and painter I have seen works of many very talented artists from our past and even some that are living today. I know my best will not even be close to what they are or were but that’s not the real standard of excellence. Can I be or become the best of what I can be with the talents and handicaps I was given. They each had that exact same standard and from what we know they seemed to have lived up to them. But we really don’t know that to be true. They may have been better than what was revealed, then again they, through creativity and skill, may have surpassed all their own expectations. We don’t know.
So with all these floating around maybe the idea or ideal of saying, “that’s good, that’s good” has more real relevance than we first thought. Since we don’t know the ultimate outcome when things happen, maybe that’s the best attitude one can have since we really don’t know what is really in their and our future.
As I become older, I am realizing how really precious each day is and what all had to happen so I could be here this day, this hour, this minute. I would say, “God be with you this day.” But God is with you whether you’re willing to recognize it or not. Your very existence is evidence of that. Now comes the hard and easy part, your honest straightforward awareness.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at 740-852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.