Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Even the terrible things

Mary Schmich was, until her retirement this year, the metro columnist for the Chicago Tribune,

Last year she released a collection of her columns, and the title piece is one of her most well-known, as well as a poignant and timely reflection for the times in which we live. She wrote "Even the terrible things seem beautiful to me now" in 2011 around Thanksgiving after her mother shared that observation one fall.

What she was saying that day, I think, was that it's all life. The things that hurt your heart, wound your pride, drain your hope, leave you lost, confuse you to the point of madness. That's life, life with its endless, shifting sensations and its appalling urgency and its relentless drive toward mystery.

What could be better than that? What could you be more thankful for than that?

Maybe we can't see the beauty in the terrible things until we're approaching the final beauty and terror. In other words, death: the ultimate proportion gauge.

Maybe only when you take your last step back from the canvas can you see how gorgeous all those wrong strokes and smudges look when viewed together.

All of the best times in my life have grown directly out of the worst times. What feels like manure often turns out to be fertilizer.

But what I took from my mother's remark wasn't just that good may grow out of bad. It's that the bad is its own beauty.

No comments: