An elderly aunt used to hang on the notion that bad news came in “threes.” She’d learn of the death of a friend or relative, then wait, almost breathlessly, for the remaining two calamities. “Who would suffer next? Could it be me?” Often, it would seem, she would be right. As often, she would manufacture the final of the triumvirate to confirm her belief.
Today, writers are more likely to opine about a so-called “season” of pain to be followed by a time of ease. This is an understandable human reaction to suffering – if we hold on for one more moment, then the promised land is on the horizon. But, is such a perspective accurate?
One can assume that spring follows winter, and then summer is next. Ostensibly, spring will alleviate the risk of freeze and starvation. And, such a hope is certain to occur. Still, there is not a guarantee of ease. Each season brings with it risks. Summer may have fewer than winter but there can be no assumption of lax. As such, life continues to challenge us. We can hope for respite but cannot assume that “ease” is the likely outcome.
Does hardship have a season? Does bad news come in threes? Perhaps. Yet, the utmost certainty is that we are only changed if we embrace those things that befall us toward an end of improvement rather than one simply of endurance.