Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Thank God For That Failure

Here’s an example of when I could recognize a divine hand in my life:

One day last year, on our kitchen counter, buried underneath the old apple cores, brown bananas and three days worth of mail, lay an invitation from Boston College to participate as a panel speaker in a national symposium on marriage. (Here’s my advice: sleep with your spouse at least twice a week, be nice to him, and everything seems to get resolved.) The letter was thin, like the one I received 20 years ago that said something like this: “Your grades are good enough, and you’ve got the whole president-of-your- class thing going for you. But man, girlfriend, you forgot to eat your Wheaties the morning you took the SATs, because your scores truly suck. So, until some smarties decline our invitation to study amidst the academic stars, you get to sit your butt on the bench and wait.”


The slender envelope slightly crushed my 17-year-old heart because my (detailed) plan was to major in international business at BC. My dad and I visited the school in the fall of my junior year in high school, and I fell in love with its program, its campus, and its city.

Instead I landed at a college in the ugly city of South Bend, Indiana.

And thank God for that.

Because within one week at Saint Mary’s College, my alma mater and spiritual home, I was in therapy for the first time and asking the important questions, which had nothing to do with international business.

The exceptionally nurturing environment of this all-women’s college made it possible for me to begin my recovery from depression and addiction. And it was there, in those small and intimate classrooms, that I stumbled upon my love for writing and uncovered my inner theologian–a person unsatisfied with the neat and tidy answers printed in the Catechism.


What about you? Do you have any “failures” that you now appreciate in retrospect?

To read more Beyond Blue, go to, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.

  • V

    I love these last two posts Therese. I truly believe that my bipolar disorder has transformed me. I can’t pinpoint exactly how but I know I am a better person. I have had many failures in terms of lost jobs and lost relationships. I lost my boyfriend to gang violence. He was a good person but we never had a godly relationship. We never mentioned God nor went to church together. When he died it was as though everything I ever learned in Catholic school came back to me and this sad event helped me to revert to the Catholic faith. I believe that he would have wanted it that way.

  • Jeni

    I was devastated by the loss of a job a few years back, and it turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It brings to mind this parable:
    There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
    “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
    “Maybe,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well
    things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

  • Lorna

    Without failure… success would be meaningless
    Without sorrow… joy would be meaningless
    Without struggle… ease would be meaningless
    Without hatred… love would be meaningless

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