Five Things 1,700 Grievers Have Taught Us | Part 4

‘Finding Meaning’ is Secret Sauce #2 

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

The quote above is one of ‘those’ quotes.  

My good friend Joe Beam, founder of Marriage Helper, said it at one of the marriage workshops we were doing together a few years ago. 

It still resonates with me, challenges me, and more than anything — gives me hope. 

It’s never too late. I know we can never change the events of the past. What we can change is our perspective of the past.  

To me, it means this: The bad stuff that happened in my past (when I was a child, or even if it was yesterday), does not have to define me, for if the ‘bad’ defines me, it will probably destroy me.  

For example, when we lose someone we love, we might think we can never be happy again. Thus we feel hopeless and perhaps helpless. These feelings are normal.  

But if we stay there, my loss can define me, and I could be stuck. The good news is – we do not have to stay there. 

So the question that can help is: What am I going to do with all that crap in my past – my childhood past, and my ‘yesterday’ crap? 

That question can propel me to find meaning in my pain. I personally do not believe that all the bad stuff happens for a reason. I do believe that we can find meaning in all the bad stuff.  

Viktor Frankl was a prisoner in Auschwitz. He was an Austrian psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, author, and Holocaust survivor.  

There were a total of 1.3 million humans who went to Auschwitz, and 1.1 million of those died. Viktor Frankl was one of the ‘lucky’ ones. 

After the war ended, and Frankl went back to ‘normal’ life, he discovered he had lost ALL his family. 

He then wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, one of those life-changing books. It is Frankl’s effort to make ‘sense out of the nonsense,’ to find meaning in the horrific horrors that went on during that period of time in world history.  

Here is the point: Each of us can find meaning in whatever we experience.  

The Holocaust did NOT happen for Frankl to find meaning – the experience of the Holocaust propelled Frankl to find meaning. 

We are so sorry for your losses. Our encouragement is to give yourself permission to grieve. There are no shortcuts. It sucks, it hurts. 

But as you journey out of that deep pit, explore what you can learn from it.  

And our losses will not destroy us but can propel us as we live forward with this pain, and with hope and purpose. 


“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”  

“What is to give light must endure the burning.”  

Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning

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