Behind every silver lining

There is an old saying: "Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining..."
The purpose of the saying is to remind us all that something good can always be gained from a calamity, regardless of how big or life-stopping it may seem.  A similar meaning can be found in the biblical saying: "Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window."

To me, this saying is all well and good if you ignore all the fiddly details.  What if God's window is on the top floor and a long way away from the door?  Will you find it in time?  What if your great big cloud only has a tiny silver lining?  In the case of the last question, it makes the saying sound pretty dire, especially for those of us (like me) who think too much about everything!

In these modern times, where things genuinely seem to be getting worse with every day, I have found that this particular saying needs some updating.  The original Batman movie, starring the excellent Jack Nicholson as the Joker, introduced me to a much more appropriate phrase: "You can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs."  This inspired me to come up with an adaptation of this optimistic phrase:

"Behind every silver lining is a whacking great cloud."

A little pessimistic, yes?  I feel that depends on your point of view.  Many great things happen as a result of a little bad luck, but often the "calamity" is worth suffering for the wonderful things you discover.

Let us consider the events of this morning.  For anyone unfamiliar with the city of Wakefield I will explain that the recent snowfall and even more recent sub-zero temperatures have turned even the main pathways into streets of slippy ice.  The car park of my apartment building, I might point out, is so slippy that I can see my face in it!  Because of this I have been getting the free bus to the bus station and then getting the early bus to work as opposed to my traditional walks.  This is largely due to the overpowering phobia of slipping that developed after I broke my leg  three years ago.

So my travels have started at 7:30am.  I get the bus around 5-10 minutes later and reach the station in time for the 08:57 bus to work.  Admittedly it gets me there forty minutes early, but importantly I get there safely.

However, bad luck made my first bus fifteen minutes late.  This made me five minutes late for the bus, so I found myself having to wait for 35 minutes until the next bus arrived.  Needless to say, I was far from pleased.  Cue the big black cloud!

But I found my silver lining in the WH Smiths.  Whilst I went in (for some chocolate), I passed by to flick through the latest Writers Forum.  In there I found lots of inspiration, which will have to wait for another post.


  1. I don't know, I think taking it from this perspective is, well, pessimistic as you said. The silver lining isn't meant to overwhelm the cloud. The window doesn't always seem as logical as the door as an entry way. Yes you might have a giant black cloud behind your lining, or you might have to run up a flight of stairs to get to the window,but these things were never designed to bring us all the happiness in themselves, just enough hope to find more happiness in other things. If you don't climb through that window, how will you know for sure what's on the other side?

    I definitely agree with your point about suffering all the calamity for the good things in life, though. It's as you said, it all depends on your point of view. Just don't get too down or you'll never be able to look up and see the silver lining...

  2. Thank you for taking the time to write such a thought-out comment. I do appreciate feedback on even my silly musings.

    Unfortunately I am an automatic pessimist trapped in the mindset of a natural optimist. That really makes no sense, does it? A good example might be to describe my reactions after deciding to enter a Mslexia competition. I don't think I'll win, but I'll enter anyway because I really hope that I'm wrong! I think my confusing mindset is largely due to years of depression.

    Either way, if the silver lining of breaking your leg in a fall is finding your lost earring when you call the ambulance, you probably won't care much for it. There's also the likelihood that anyone who chooses to use that phrase may find themselves on the receiving end of your good leg!

    I just prefer to be pleasantly surprised by something good than being disappointed by something less impressive.


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