As a cardiologist for over a quarter century, I dealt with life and death circumstances on a daily basis. I came to fully appreciate how precious and tenuous life can be; it can change in an instant. On June 30th of 2009 such a dramatic shift occurred in our family when our son, Tyler, was involved in an automobile accident sustaining a severe spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." In a nano-second, our entire family was thrust into the midst of one of the fiercest storms imaginable. "Why do disruptive, terrible things like this happen? Why must there be such anguish? Does it serve any purpose?" These were questions that had answers… but it would take quite some time for me to sift through the quagmire in order to uncover them.
There were three things that helped me navigate the storm:
What I ultimately came to appreciate was that this human realm represents a perfect circumstance in which one can approach what we all seek - transformative enlightenment. I have learned that all the pain and turmoil of this existence, those things that cause us to suffer, are beautifully balanced and coupled with those things that bring us pleasure. It is because of that symbiotic relationship that we do not become overly burdened with the negative aspects of any experience.
Through this heart wrenching experience, I have learned that when adversity comes our way, it is how we respond to that difficulty that determines who we become. Our life experiences become calamities only if we make the conscious decision to make tragedies out of them. Rather than lamenting the so-called hardships in our lives, we can choose to be grateful for them. We can embrace them and accept them as gifts from the Divine. While they may not come in beautiful wrapping paper, these "gifts" provide fertile soil for our growth and enlightenment. They can actually be a blessing in disguise.
An expression from the Kabbalah says it all: "The falls of our life provide us with the energy to propel ourselves to a much higher level." We should be grateful for the falls of our life.
### Excerpted from the book No Storm Lasts Forever: Transforming Suffering Into Insight © 2012 by Dr. Terry Gordon (Hay House/ July 2012).
Dr. Terry A. Gordon, a Cleveland Clinic–trained cardiologist, practiced within mainstream medicine for over two decades. Named the American Heart Association’s National Physician of the Year in 2002, Terry is nationally recognized in matters of the heart. As a motivational speaker, he has shared the stage with Dr. Wayne Dyer; as a musician, he is the co-host of Docs Who Rock, a United Way event. He is currently spearheading a national campaign called The Josh Miller HEARTS Act, which will place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in every school in the country, protecting from sudden cardiac arrest our mostprecious resource: our children.