Bad times produce character, hope

Kendra Thorstenson Columnist

You’re sick. I’m sick. We’re all sick. ‘Tis the season of the flu, strep and apparently the measles. Who would have thought the measles would be an issue in 2015? But anyway, I thought I would share some insight that I have gained while going through some unfavorable situations, like illness.

 This last semester I had to get my car fixed twice, my computer broke (I was without it for a couple months), and I was plagued with some health issues. These might not seem like big deals to you, but if you’re a college student your car, computer and health are necessary for surviving the semester. They are your lifelines. OK, after coffee they are. Everybody knows that coffee is and always will be number one. But let’s face it, I need my car because I’m not going to walk when it is zero degrees out. I need my computer so I can do my homework and of course keep up with all the social media outlets out there. And last, I need good health because college has a way of taking a toll on even the healthiest students. Just an FYI in case you didn’t know, sleep is important.

 I don’t know why bad things like this happen and did happen to me last semester, but I do know that it is because of those unfortunate things that I am the person I am today.

 Just the other day, I was thinking about it and laughing at what a wreck my life was for a little while. But, I am so glad that everything is OK now. I got my car and computer back and I am as healthy as can be.

 Bad stuff like illnesses, broken computers and car breakdowns bring me joy. I know that doesn’t make sense, but stay with me.

 It would have been so easy for me to curl up in a ball and quit on life, but I am glad I didn’t, and I am thankful that all of that happened. I have decided that after going through hard times I am happier and that I appreciate life.

 I think in times of trouble, bad days, unfortunate events, death and the list goes on… that we must rejoice. What? Rejoice in times of suffering? Yes you read correctly, I said rejoice. Why rejoice in the hard times? Because rejoicing produces perseverance, character and hope.

  I learned three lessons this past semester while going through all of this. My perspective on life has really changed.

First, I have realized that life is good, and even when it treats you badly, it is still good. So I encourage you to fight through whatever you are going through. There is a reason for whatever is happening. Trials only make you stronger.  

 Second, I have found contentment. Now if I get the flu, I think to myself, ‘wow this isn’t so bad, remember when you were sick for months and without your computer and car?’ (I feel like I can handle anything now.) I love this quote by Martha Washington saying, “I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” Contentment to me means finding joy in the situation you are in currently and not wanting anything else or to be anywhere else. 

 Last, I have learned to say thank you. I thank God for trials, because without them I don’t know where I would be. After hard times, I realize what is important. It is then that I see the light of life.