As an Orthodox Christian I learn about God in Sunday school, and we are taught to drop everything and follow Him. I believe that we follow God because He has a special plan for each of us and all of the hardships and disappointments that we face in our lives are His way of making sure that we are prepared for whatever is coming next. He has lessons to teach, and we have lessons to learn through joy, and disappointment, and sorrow.
In eighth grade, I wanted to be the president of the National Junior Honor Society, but I did not win the election. Instead I became the vice president by default however it was not quite the same. At the Greek Festival that my church holds annually, I wanted to perform in the front line in my dance group, but I could not. I also wanted to be Mary in the Christmas pageant, but again I was told that I could not and was instead cast as a shepherd. Those were my lessons on how to lose gracefully.
Those disappointments seem small, but they still made me feel insignificant. During the time that I was learning the lessons I felt separated from God like he was ignoring me, but as I look back now I can see what was meant to be learned and how it was taught. I would not have learned those things any other way.
Last April my cousin passed away, and while in the church for the funeral it felt as though God were mocking us. He now had what we had lost and he had to rub it in our faces. We sat in the pews, looking up at the cross, and wondered how God could have let her die. It was a difficult time for everyone in my family, but gradually I began to heal, and I believe that that experience has made me a stronger person. Now I make it a point to pray every night that I think about her, and I ask God to watch over us all and to take care of my cousin who is now with Him. She has moved on to the next part of God’s plan for her, and we will follow her once we have learned all that we need to, here on earth. That experience was my lesson on how to find the silver lining.
God will know when it is our time to begin the next part of His plan, because He will have taught us everything that we needed to know. After I came to this realization, I began to look at my life differently. Disappointments became something to learn from, and sadness now brings me closer to God. Now it is easier to find the lesson, and I can apply each one to my life to make me a better individual, and make it easier for me to learn God’s next lesson.