Thinking Out Loud: Moments of the good, the bad and the ugly

John T. Catrett III
ONHL Hospice Chaplain

As a young man, I loved the Clint Eastwood movie “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!” This film helped launch him as a movie star. The film epitomized the way life finds ways to dish out the good, the bad and the ugly at the most inopportune times even in the same day.

Optimistic people tend to see the good, the beautiful and the positive. They let the negativity slide off, like a drop of water on a waxed surface. They believe that life is too short to spend one moment in misery. They believe in the right to choose their focus and what they will emphasize, how they will grow, and what will be part of their lives. And what parts of negativity they will allow only for the purpose of learning from, not staying in bondage to.

Pessimists, on the other hand, find fault in everything, even in themselves. Nothing is right, no matter how hard they try; they are not getting anywhere in life. There is no beauty in this world, much less in their relationships. Good doesn’t exist, and nothing works. They wallow in the world of negativity, and they sink deep into their own misery. They feel forsaken and forgotten. No one cares for them. This is bad and ugly.

Who has not had moments of the good, the bad and the ugly? No one is perfect (or whole in and of themselves). Everyone has gaps and growth areas and demons to fight. So what do we do about this? Watch for people with skills and gifts to fill your gaps, mentors who can speak into your growth areas, and relationships to encourage you as you grow in those areas. The growth, positive change and beauty that can come out of bad and ugly are ours for the taking, but inaction will bear no positive fruit.

Change is part of life. It embraces all aspects of life – physical, material, mental, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. It can mean we are learning and growing. Unwanted change can make life feel bad and ugly, but the lessons learned from it could make life beautiful. Loss and grief are stepping-stones to go higher or to reach deeper within. So, grab the chance to re-assess, re-evaluate and respond to the changes that follow loss and grief. Pain has a refining influence on us; so let it do its work. There is something good that can come out of what's bad and ugly.

Listen to yourself, be more aware of your thoughts, and give yourself a few minutes each day to realign your thoughts with the hope-filled side of life. John 10:10 states, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” “Jesus said unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life…’” (John 14:6) With whom do you want to go through life? Which will it be “The thief” or “The Way-maker”? We need to feel the inner peace of the Way-maker, and savor it. Let the good in you shine forth and make a difference in this world.

John T. Catrett III is chaplain for ONHL Hospice. He can be reached at (918) 352-3080 or