“A fundamental sign of mental health is one’s realization that life is hard.” ~ Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled


I am an optimist by nature. Sometimes to a fault. I am so eager to see the good in people and circumstances that some say I am unrealistic and naïve.

But the more I study optimism, the more I am convinced that being optimistic is a better way to live than expecting the worst at every turn.


Scott Peck reminds us that life is hard. It is full of sadness, tears, troubles and pain. We cannot ignore that fact.

At the very beginning of my own midlife divorce recovery, I was anything but optimistic about how my life would turn out. I tried to be upbeat, but in my heart I felt I would always carry around a small kernel of heartache in the middle of my chest where no one could see it but me.

I’ll admit, even years later, occasionally when I see my wasband, I wonder what went wrong. But it’s no longer a smoldering pain. It’s a realization that hard things happen in this life regardless of our best efforts.

It’s also a realization that the heartache we experience can bring power and a potential for good. The key is to make sure that we let the pain that we face refine us instead of destroy us.

A Fuller Joy To Be Found

The agonizing hurt of my divorce absolutely made me a better, more caring, more fulfilled person than I would have been had my life never been turned upside down by a real, soul-expanding, difficulty.

Life is more precious now; joys are fuller. The desire to help others is more demanding. The light of the lessons I’ve learned shines on its own without any effort on my part.

The Big Picture

God definitely has used my pain for gain. In more ways than I can even count. Let your distress drive you closer to God. Try to see what you can learn that will make the big picture of your life even brighter.

Life is hard. But the lessons we learn from pain are sometimes the most enlightening, empowering lessons of all.

“You let this distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, and end up on a deathbed of regrets.”
~ 2 Corinthians 9-10 (The Message)