When Bad Things Happen To Good People

OWL[2]Someone on the Colostomy Association facebook page just asked:

“Why do bad things always happen to good people, and bad people get all the good things?”

I was about to join in the pity party but it suddenly struck me that maybe lots of good people are good precisely because of the bad things that happen? No pain – no gain, to quote an old cliché.

I believe I am a kinder, gentler, more empathetic person as well as being tougher, bolder, mentally and emotionally stronger, and gratefully aware of all the good and beautiful things around me since “bad” things have happened in my life. I’m not saying that I’m a good person, just that I’m better than I was.

Suffering has done me good. It makes some people bitter and resentful, understandably, and depressed. But the overwhelming impression from this group is that many of them have come through unimaginable pain and distress, and are so much richer for it. And they are so generous with their riches, so supportive and caring. Would that be the case if they hadn’t “been there, got the tee-shirt”?

I have been humbled by the genuine love expressed by these people, corresponding so closely to the definition St Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.  

One of the most generous is a person who has had both stomach and bowel removed, but gets on with her life, spreading joy with wit and wisdom, and garnering prizes at flower shows.


Another of the regulars on this page died recently – not unusual, as many of them are suffering from terminal illnesses such as cancer. She managed to write down her story before she died, and in fact was working on her book late on the eve of her death. This has just been released this weekend, and is available as a paperback or on KindleCancer to Coma – My Journey by Ciara O’Neill.  Proceeds go to charity.

 Shit happens, yes; but manure makes the roses grow.


6 thoughts on “When Bad Things Happen To Good People

  1. I love what St.Paul says about love. Thanks for including this.
    I am not so sure what are bad people and what are good people. We all have our weaknesses and we all have some good in us. I think pain and suffering are easier to handle if you have a positive outlook on life, still enjoy life as much as possible and show other people that you care.

  2. Nobody deserves the “bad things”, regardless of whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. And I’m not convinced that the good things only happen to bad people. Desperation sometimes makes people think and say things they possibly wouldn’t say if they were happy and well.

    • I agree – and we are all a mixture of good and bad. That’s partly why I felt goaded to respond to this comment that is bandied about very freely and unthinkingly.

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