It has to have been the worst day of my young life so far. For the first time I was experiencing the loss of someone dear to me. Our precious Nana was the very embodiment of unselfish love. It was painful to imagine life without her.
On the bleak afternoon of her passing, my sister and I had been given a special assignment. We were to do our best to comfort our grandfather while our parents made one last trip to the hospital. What we found to talk about with Dadder on that sorrowful occasion I cannot remember. But what still stays with me is that our visit proved to be surprisingly easy—even pleasant. Under such circumstances, how could that be?
Today I think I understand, perhaps taking a hint from our parents’ grateful acknowledgement, when they returned, of what we had done. Under challenging circumstances, we’d shared a small but timely gift of joy with our grandfather, and it had given us an opportunity to draw on inner spiritual resources we didn’t yet know we had. When all is said and done, does anything satisfy the heart quite as deeply as discovering those inner resources? So precious are they that, even after a lengthy string of disastrous days, Job could confidently state, “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Viewed from this perspective, perhaps there’s a lot to be said in favor of “bad days.” Or perhaps there’s really no such thing as a bad day unless we miss the opportunity it offers. I suspect that Dadder already knew this. The previous year he had written in my middle school yearbook: “May you learn to take life with its ups and downs as it is and enjoy it both ways.” He was doing just that the day Nana left us and showing us that we could do it too, turning even the worst day so far into a golden one.