Upon discovering the horrific events of last week, I, like every other normal human being had a visceral reaction to the news. It hurt. It was more emotional pain than I could remember in a long time. That was the only reaction I thought possible in the moment.
But my optimism kicked in and I recalled the Mishna I quoted last week that obligates Jews to bless the bad like the good. But how? I thought. How is it possible to find the good in this tragedy. The answer, to me, was that we cannot. There is no good in a tragedy like this. But what of the Mishna? How are we to bless the bad like the good? My answer was that if we, the ones affected by this tragedy, were able to make our own blessing, make our own changes, improve ourselves and our communities, we would be blessing the bad. By not wallowing in self pity, by not allowing ourselves to be debilitated by our pain and sorrow, we could take the worst of times and use them to make better times in the future.
This is a novel explanation of the Mishna. I admit it. But I think it is appropriate under these circumstances.
I call this a silver lining.
As per the GoEnglish.com Idiom Dictionary: “be hopeful because difficult times always lead to better days…”
According to this explanation of the metaphor, a silver lining (the good thing) is not innate to the cloud (the bad thing). It means that bad things can eventually lead to good things. Look at the picture above. The dark cloud has a silver lining. But from does the silver lining come? Not from the cloud. From something behind the cloud. Something external to the cloud. The sun. Eventually the cloud dissipates and the sun remains. Eventually the pain dissipates and there can be good. For most people that would entail waiting around until the good thing kicked in. Not for me. I believe it means we should proactively make good in the wake of bad.
However, some people took issue with my use of the Idiom.
They felt that silver lining meant that there was “something good” about the death of a poor innocent child. There is nothing good about that. If you understood me that way what I said was obscene and heartless.
To you, I apologize. That was never my intention. Nor was I aware that some people would interpret the idiom in that way. But I now understand that some people interpreted silver lining in that way and the usage of the silver lining idiom caused people unnecessary pain and outrage. For that, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I hope that you will all find a way to forgive me for that. I am sorry.
I hope this clarifies my position and we can all try our best to implement something positive into our lives and communities and turn the bad into a blessing.
I will be footnoting the mention of silver lining in both of the previous posts to indicate the usage of this idiom is explained in this post.