A Thank You Note to the Terrible Thing That Happened

Thank you, red letter day, note with pen.
Thank you, red letter day, note with pen.

Dear Thing That Happened,

Hi. It's me. Just wanted to drop you a line to tell you that I'm still here.

See, when you happened I thought I would dig a hole in the ground, crawl in, listen to every Cure song ever made, curl up, and then maybe die. You were the most catastrophic thing to ever hit my life and you pounded me like a meteor. After you, I thought for sure I'd turn to dust. But then something amazing happened.

I didn't.

And -- plot twist -- I want to thank you.

That's right, terrible thing. I have you to thank.

Before you life was easy, perhaps even boring. I was safe and sheltered like a bird in a cage singing the same tune I'd sung to myself for years -- songs of self-doubt that told me I'd never be good enough, songs that told me to give up. I had no idea how much I could endure and persevere, or that I could lift my head on my own and love myself despite my many flaws. Because of you I realized I'm the only me I have. And guess what, oh horror of horrors, I like me.

When something like you happens it's isolating, sure. For a few bleak seconds I felt like the earth had fallen out from under me, and I was floating in space. But in your aftermath I realized, like Dorothy back from Oz, I've had everything I needed all along. And in fact, maybe I didn't appreciate it as much as I should. Without you I would never have seen how much my family and friends love me, and what a powerful word unconditional is. I would never have seen the bonds that tie me to the people I care about more than anything in the world and how much they support and accept me no matter what.

So, um, thanks. :)

Sure, I could rend my garments and gnash my teeth cursing your name to the high heavens. But instead, terrible, insidious, cruel, hateful thing, I will thank you for attempting to destroy me.

Because without you I'd never know that I am capable of coming back from the worst darkness I could ever imagine. And I don't just survive, I come back stronger. You helped me realize the greatest thing I'll ever know.

I'm no bird in a cage.

I'm a phoenix.