How the Worst Can Be The Best Gets Me Every Time

I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently. It’s nice to be so easily transported to someplace else these days. To not think about what’s happening in my life, but in the lives of characters instead. I’m in the middle of reading The Collected Short Stories of Amy Hempel, and I just love her keep-you-guessing style of writing. And since I’m reading short stories, I never have to get too invested in any one story. Perfection.

This post is about one of the short stories that really spoke to me called “The Man In Bogota.” It’s only about 3 pages long and I’m not going to spoil it for you (ok, maybe I will), but here’s the long and short of it. A woman tells a story about an old man in Bogota who was kidnapped. His kidnappers had to keep this out-of-shape, aging man alive in order to get their ransom. So he went on a diet and exercised—all at the hand of his captors.

Years later, his ransom was paid. The man was free. What was probably one of the worst things in his life was over. That should be relief enough. What’s better? He went to the doctor who said he’d never been in better shape. Any health problems he’d had were gone. His kidnappers inadvertently saved his life.

This most awful thing in this man’s life turned into something with a great outcome.

The worst, flipped on it’s head. It became the best. From last to first.

In this story it took years. But it happened.

We’re never quite sure why things happen. Me? I like to think they happen for a reason. I know they do. And right now, I’m learning to be OK with having to wait to see why they happened the way they did.


  1. Alex says:

    Beautiful beautiful. Reading your words is bringing me so much joy. But I understand exactly how you feel. I had that feeling, though not the words to describe it, all through my childhood. And now looking back at those years and who I am now, I know they happened to shape me into this person. Everything will make sense one day. <3

  2. Jill Rugani says:

    Your perspective is reminding me how God gives us beauty from ashes. He is never the cause of pain and trials, but He is the life and the good that come out of them.

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