Vail Daily column: It really is all good
When a friend recently expressed his condolences regarding the passing of my grandmother, I replied as I often do in such emotionally fraught situations: “It’s all good.” My friend, being a clever sort and one who is precise in his speech, challenged me on my comment. He wondered how I could claim equanimity when it must have been apparent from my countenance that I was suffering inside. He then suggested that I write a column about the overuse of the phrase. A welcome distraction from grief, the idea germinated. Were the words purely a salve for heartache or did they reveal something larger about my worldview? My conclusion: It really is all good.
Glamorous and Exotic
Grandma was a glamorous and exotic woman whose Belgian accent never left her (despite 60 years in the States) and who moved through the world apparently unaffected by its burdens. Quick with a laugh or hug and always plying us with gourmet treats, her positivity was infectious. It was not that her life was without tribulations: She lived through the heart of World War II in Nazi-occupied Brussels, beat polio, suffered innumerable musculoskeletal ailments, and lost her beloved Czech husband 20 years too soon.
The trials of Grandma’s existence did not beat her, they strengthened her; they made the dark times brighter and the bright times radiant. Watching her face light up as she recalled pilfering sugar and butter from German stocks as a little girl showed that even in the face of great evil there can be a glimmer of happiness. Grandma’s example of looking for the good and the fun in each day influenced me more than I ever realized.
We need Pain
Without peaks and valleys and twists and turns, life is simply a straight, flat road. No offense to the Plains states, but there is a reason that we all came out to Colorado. We need pain in order to fully appreciate pleasure; a touch of bitterness accentuates the sweetness. When viewed through this lens, everything is good because it is all part of the process of realizing happiness. In isolation, an event or a year may be horrible, but in a global sense they are components of the good in life.
A Conscious Choice
Make no mistake, to think of the world in this way is a conscious choice and one that can often be a struggle. To me, it is more productive and satisfying than the alternative of wallowing in the mire of disappointment. Enough small and large misfortunes befall us that dwelling on them is tantamount to tying an anvil around your neck and wading into the sea.
Catalyst for Recalibration
This ethos strongly informs how I view the mechanism of dispute resolution. The root of the conflict, whether it be lost money or damaged property or some other obstacle, can either be a source of despair or the catalyst for a recalibration. As long as there is health and the basic necessities, joy is not hard to capture. The loss will make what you still have all the more dear. To commit to a years-long legal battle will push contentment further out of reach. Only a great effort will keep it in your grasp. It is not logical to compound a problem by adding exponentially more issues to the situation: You will lose more money, spend more time, become burdened by more stress.
Everything is Interconnected
In the alternative, you can look at the setback as a necessary means to the end of comprehensive well-being. Suffering is the path to salvation. Embracing the bad as a fundamental element of the good is true enlightenment: Everything is interconnected, thus everything is good. It is a more optimistic conclusion than believing that everything is crap. If you are able to transcend the immediate emotional impulse to clash with your opponent, then moving forward becomes significantly easier. Internalize and process the frustration and the potential financial impact and then move onto something positive. Allow the good to rise from the ashes of the bad.
The counterpoint to my outlook is that it may be worth it to suffer through a few years of legal hell in order to come out happy in the end. Were the outcome certain, I could potentially see the merit in that decision. But it is not and I cannot.
Rather than mourning the loss of Grandma, I celebrate the legacy that she leaves behind. The memories of the grand times rise to the front of my consciousness and uplift my heavy heart. Everything is good.
T.J. Voboril is a partner at Reynolds, Kalamaya and Voboril LLC, a local law firm, and the owner-mediator at Voice Of Reason Dispute Resolution. For more information, contact Voboril at 970-306-6456, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.rkvlaw.com.