“You take the good with the bad.”
Have you ever heard that saying? What’s your first reaction when you hear that statement? My first thought is something like, “Bullsh*t!” Probably because the first thing that comes to mind is the saying, “You have to experience the bitter to appreciate the sweet.” Ironically enough, my Family Clan’s motto from ancient day is “Dulcius ex asperis” (Sweeter after difficulties).
The bittersweetness of life. What’s up with that? Do we really have to taste the bitter in order to appreciate the sweet? I still call bullsh*t on that.
I’ve never believed that you have to experience the bad in order to appreciate the good. As I look at the people I’ve encountered in my life there are people on all ends of the spectrum. On one hand, many people have come from hard times and now life is great. Some of them deeply appreciate the goodness of life and live with compassion. Some feel like they deserve the good times because they paid their dues. Still others don’t even recognize that their life is great now and continue to live tortured in the shadows of their painful past.
On the other hand, I know many people who seem to be mostly untouched by hardship. Life seems to go their way as a matter of course. Some of these people take it for granted and simply cannot fathom the depth of darkness and suffering others have faced. Some have more open eyes and live with empathy towards others. Still others celebrate the wonder of life and uplift the people around them.
My conclusion? Having a good life does not rob you of the ability to love and appreciate the goodness of life. Suffering is not some magical key to loving life more than others.
Life comes in a wide array of bitter, sweet, sour, light, dark and every flavor and color in between. Each new flavor adds something new to our lives. Every new color helps us see the world in a new way. Do I have to experience rainy days in order to appreciate the sunny ones? No. I don’t think so. I love a good rainy day. If every day was rainy I would miss the sun but I would still find ways to love every day regardless of the rain. I would even learn to love the rain. I know because I’ve lived in the rainy Northwest. I’ve also lived where the sun almost never goes away and those rainy days seem like a balm to the soul. And still I learn to love the sun.
Appreciating life fully is a choice, one that takes conscious effort and sometimes practice. It is largely up to you how deeply you let life impact you for good or bad. You don’t have to taste the bitter to appreciate the sweet. After too much sweet you may crave some bitter. But (big but), to experience the great things in life you have to risk facing the terrible ones. Who knows what will come along your path. If you’ve suffered, staying open to life can be the hardest thing to do. But it is the only way for your soul to be truly free.
The moral of this rambling is, You take the good with the possibility of bad, and whatever crosses your path you always have the power to turn the bitter into sweet.