Thank God Ahead of Time (TGAoT) for whatever happensArts
“Solanus did not worry about those things that lie beyond the power of humans, like healing. Instead he simply urged people to go beyond their limited power to God. They were advised to manifest their thanks to the God who heals by gratefully doing something both before and after the healing.”
Michael Crosby: Thank God Ahead of Time
Father Michael Crosby wrote a biography of Solanus Casey entitled Thank God Ahead of Time. That’s a great philosophy for dealing with the tragedies and travesties of life. When I’m speaking about courage and perseverance, I often ask listeners to visualize the letters TGAoT stenciled on the insides of their foreheads as a way of pre-programming their thinking to accept adversity and loss as a well-disguised blessing, not as a curse. Bad things do happen to good people; if you’ve prepared yourself ahead of time with the TGAoT commitment to face those bad things with courage and equanimity, the silver linings will become evident much more quickly.
Almost everyone who’s ever lost a job will eventually look back and say that it was the best thing that could have happened (the primary exception being people who choose to spend the rest of their lives seeing themselves as having been victimized by their former employers.)
Not many people are thankful for a diagnosis of cancer, but if you’ve ever spent time with people in a cancer support group you know that, while they would love to just make it go away, the disease has brought blessings in its wake. The book Not Quite What I Was Planning is a collection of 6-word memoirs that were submitted to the website of Smith Magazine. My favorite one was written by a 10 year old kid: “Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends.” If a 10 year old can say that about cancer, what can happen to you or me that we can’t immediately begin looking for the TGAoT silver lining?
When your world turns upside down, immediately saying “thank you” – even though you don’t know what you’re going to be thankful for – will help you pay attention to the well-disguised blessing that you know is in there somewhere.