Bad News/Worse News

Last week I got served a slice of bad news, with a side of possible worse news. This particular bad news was completely unexpected – I was expecting news but not of the bad variety. In fact, it was supposed to be good, if not great, news. But it wasn’t and, as with most unexpected things, it threw me into a bit of a spin. It was a big spanner thrown into some even bigger works. Lots of planning and big decisions were made around the expected good news; these all required a major re-think to fit in with the bad news and cushion the future against the possible worse news. So I planned, worked contingencies, sipped wine, felt sad, got angry, re-imagined, drank coffee, chatted with friends, built entirely unrelated tangible things, distracted myself and slept. In my heart of hearts though, I was waiting. Waiting for today – for the phone call with a side of possible worse news.

I got the call. It wasn’t worse news. In fact, relatively speaking, it was good news – stupendous, magnificent, excellent news…relatively speaking. To give you a better picture of what I mean, here are some examples entirely unrelated to me:

  • You’re fired – but we’re not suing you.
  • Your dog is dead – but she didn’t suffer.
  • Your foot requires amputation – but you won’t die.

I should be relieved, happy, thankful – all of which I feel in a mild, remote way but mostly I feel empty and tired and defeated. I know that I just got good news but the only reason it’s good news is because there was potential for worse news which was begot of bad news to start with.

This kind of good news is the silver lining to an otherwise dark, lightning spitting, hail belching cloud.

Usually, I see the glass half full – good news is good news, regardless of the packaging – take it with thanks and a smile. I’m trying really hard to keep the smile from cracking, to see what is there instead of what isn’t but it’s proving quite difficult. And I guess that’s ok, it’s part of ‘the process’ – whatever that is…

So, I’ll take a moment or a few and just breathe. I think it’s time to take my shoes off, even though it’s winter and it looks like rain’s coming. Maybe I’ll squish some mud between my toes or take a walk on wet pavement. Somewhere, the glass is half full and my bare feet are determined to get me there.

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