One last thought: In 2019, the comedian Stephen Colbert was asked in an interview by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about a plane crash that killed Colbert’s father and two of his brothers when he was 10 years old. Cooper quoted a previous statement by Colbert that he had learned to “love the thing that I most wish had not happened.” He asked Colbert to clarify this extraordinary remark. “It’s a gift to exist, and with existence comes suffering,” Colbert replied. “I don’t want it to have happened … but if you are grateful for your life … then you have to be grateful for all of it. You can’t pick and choose what you’re grateful for.”
Colbert’s words resonated deeply with me, and perhaps they do with you, too. No normal person skips merrily into a tragic loss, nor usually seeks out even minor discomfort. But those things find us, over and over again in life. This is especially true today, in the era of COVID-19. The meaning from this pain, and the benefits it can bring to our lives and society, comes from how we choose to use it.