Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening to Me?

Published: [2020-08-08 Sat]

Why? Why? Why?

Be honest. Over the course of the past several months, have you thought to yourself, “Why do bad things keep happening to me?”

Maybe this analogy will help. This is an old meditation about the importance of personal suffering. I first heard it from a mentor a few years ago, but I’m sure that someone reading this can trace it further back, probably to one of the saints.

The Kiln

The lifecycle of a human soul can be compared to a piece of pottery. Pottery has design, it is elegant, and the good ones have the quality of beauty.

But pottery doesn’t “just” happen. Pottery starts out as clay, which someone must collect from the ground. Then, the artist puts the blob of clay on a turntable and molds it into a shape. Molding is precise work and must be done carefully.

But the clay must be hardened so that it can keep its shape and hold something. So, the artist puts it into the kiln.

After removing the piece from the kiln, the clay emerges as a hard pot. But it’s not done yet! It’s a functional pot, but it’s not a pretty pot. So, the artist paints it. Then, back into the kiln it goes!

After pulling the pot out of the kiln again, the pot is painted but still unprotected from the elements. So, the artist applies glaze. The glaze needs to solidify too. So, back into the kiln it goes!

Finally, when the glazed painted pot emerges, it is done. (Or is it?)

The Metaphor

Likewise, a human soul begins life like that blob of clay, unmolded without form. The artist (God) molds the “clay” of the soul into a form (virtue).

We must face strife in our lives (represented by the time spent in the kiln) because strife with virtue hardens our “forms.” Without strife, the virtue doesn’t stick, and we lose our forms.

However, there are always additional ways to decorate (and repair) that metaphorical pottery. So, additional time in the kiln might be necessary.

Summary: our trials make us who we are. Remember that trials happen for a reason even though the reason might not seem evident. At the end of it, you will be a better stronger person. You might even be thankful for the trials.