my friend Talia just wrote a post called “it happens in threes” on her blog conduit press and it got me thinking. i have always been told that bad things and deaths come in threes. i always cringe when i hear someone say “wonder who’s next” after one or two related deaths (you know, friends, family, political figures, movie stars- there always seems to be a pattern to the “three deaths”) it’s all so very morbid, isn’t it. so, is saying this just a way to cope with death and bumps in the road? was this once some person’s clever way to console a friend after a loved one had passed away? in the last year and a half mike and i have had round after round of “the bad things 3”. i have to say if three was the limit on challenges, disappointments, and set backs i would be just fine with that! but what is the time frame here? are we saying three bad things/death within a week, a month, 6 months? this doesn’t comfort me in the least because when one bad thing happens it leaves you on the edge waiting for “the rest”. when a one loved one dies you begin noticing the frailty of other people you love and wonder if they might be next. it’s just pessimistic and sad, this whole threes thing.
and i have often wondered, do good things come in threes too? well, my answer is- the good things are just uncountable! there are simply too many good things happening amidst all the bad to count them at all, let alone in threes. during the worst of our “bad times”this past year+ i found myself feeling beat down and wondered what i had done to deserve all this pain, financial stress, disappointment- then i looked at my husband, my mom, my best friends, and my family and i saw so much love and innumerable good things that i stopped counting up all our bad things. those people and the good they bring snap me out of all that tallying of bad things, out of the despair, and back to real life where good and bad take turns. life ebbs and flows- getting lost in the count can be a comfort (although false, because there is no end to this give and take of ups and downs) but it can also be a blinder.
we can get lost and lose sight of all the goodness happening minute by minute. it is so easy to get lost in all the bad things because they are big, HUGE- they are cars breaking down, unexpected surgeries, losing loved ones, breaking appliances, bad plumbing, storm damage, hard decisions, disappointment, etc. these bad things consume us and stress us to no end. Talia says she’s trying to look at the brighter side of things and i couldn’t agree more. this tiny shift of perspective can be very powerful. we must celebrate the lives of our loved ones and even all those big bad boulders set along our paths. without hard times and tough decisions we would be boring and lack character. and maybe we just need these groups of threes (bads) (such a manageable number, really) so we can get focus more on the groups of trillions (goods)! i love that Talia turned the loss of her dryer into hanging clothes outside- “no big deal”. while we wait for the other bads to follow, we make the best of our situation, we persevere and change our course. and that other shoe, that big number three that proves the saying is true? well, maybe you won’t even notice that it never comes to pass.
try counting all the good things in your days this week. i dare you!