Tragedy and Contentment

Posted on December 28, 2011 by Robert Ringer


As I was enjoying the Christmas weekend, I was struck by the onslaught of tragedies that flashed across my television screen.

  • A helicopter carrying a heart surgeon and procurement technician crashed in Florida, killing both men and the pilot of the aircraft.
  • An Afghanistan war veteran was shot in the neck during a welcome-home party in California after trying to break up an argument over, of all things, football teams, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down — after surviving a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan!
  • Six members of one family in Texas were killed on Christmas day when a relative, dressed up as Santa Claus, suddenly opened fire on them, then killed himself.
  • Sixty people were killed in Bagdad by a wave of at least fourteen separate explosions — a somber sign of things to come in Iraq.
  • A blaze started by fireplace ashes that had been placed in a bag killed an elderly couple and their three grandchildren in Connecticut on Christmas morning.

After all these years, I still don’t have any convincing answers as to why these nonstop tragedies occur. But of one thing I am certain: I am truly blessed to be alive and healthy and to have wonderful people in my life. What a jolting contrast it is when you watch the nightmare stories that march across your television screen each day.

The list of tragedies goes on and on — 365 days a year — and forces one to wonder what life is all about. And one of the most baffling sub-questions about life’s purpose is the one that virtually every adult has pondered: Why do bad things happen to good people?

Thousands of unsuspecting human beings all over the country — and far more worldwide — will be victims of tragedies between now and the end of the holiday season. And as their stories arrive in our homes via the miracle of electrons, it’s a mentally healthy exercise to focus on the good fortune in our lives rather than the misfortunes that are part of every individual’s life.

In this respect, Socrates demonstrated his remarkable insight into life and human nature when he said, “If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own.”

May 2012 be a year of contentment for you as you focus on the blessings in your life.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.