GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 35

invisible grands

When bad things happen to good people
BY PAT HANSON

I

lived in Paradise, California for twelve
years in the early 1990's. My tiny
Japanese modern house resembled a tree house, set in that beautiful community of rolling hills and tall
pines. Through its branches I could see
Sacramento Valley's Sutter Buttes. Long
before online shopping, when I'd order
things, people would chuckle in disbelief at my address: 1269 Storybook Lane.
Today that home and those of close
to 14,000 neighbors are gone, along
with 5,400 other structures: schools,
churches, businesses wiped out.
History. Burned to the ground in the
devastation left by California's Camp
Fires in November. Eighty-eight dead,
196 still missing and unaccounted for.
Two of my dear friends lost everything
and will return to rubble should they
choose to.
In order to make sense of it, I remembered a book I'd given
to many people suffering from unexpected losses of all kinds.
Written by Rabbi Harold Kushner, When Bad Things Happen

"

"A positive mindset will not save
you from bad news, but your
reactions to it can be different. Try
replacing 'It's terrible!' with 'It's a
learning experience.' "

35 GRAND

JANUARY FEBRUARY 2019

* No exceptions for nice people. There is

no moral judgment involved--natural law is blind,
and God does not interfere with it. God does not
intervene to save good people from earthquake or
disease, and most importantly does not send these
misfortunes to punish the wicked.

* A positive mindset will not save you
from bad news, but your reactions to it can
be different. Try replacing "It's terrible!" with "It's

to Good People was his attempt to reconcile his own faith
in the face of the early death of his son. He wrote this book
to help people find a faith that can aid in getting through
troubles.

Three points to help your grandchildren
understand what can arise from tragedy.
Its principles are universal to believers
and non-believers alike.
* Sometimes there is no reason. Random suffering may

simply be a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

a learning experience."
In answer to the question of why bad things
happen to good people, our response might be
to reach out to the people who have to go on
living despite it all. Contributing to the thousands of newly homeless from fires may be
the first thing we can do to bring hope to the
situation.
The Phil Collins song "Another Day in
Paradise" goes out with my prayers to all
affected. If all we have is the present moment,
this devastation is quite literally a manifestation
of the Buddhist concept of impermanence. The implication for
us is to "think twice," as often as we can, in gratitude for the
good we do have.

Dr. Pat Hanson is a seasoned health educator,
public speaker, and workshop facilitator. She
is the author of Invisible Grandparenting:
Leave A Legacy Of Love Whether You Can Be
There or Not. She lectures nationally on Aging
Positively and is a columnist for the magazine:
Crone: Women Coming of Age.


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GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019

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