About ten years ago, my husband unexpectedly lost his job. As with many upsetting things that happen in our life together, I was more upset than he was.

One day I went to the acupuncturist. We’re fortunate to have a local practice that has a sixth-generation Chinese practitioner. Since she was out on maternity leave, I saw her elderly father who was filling in for her.

I sat across the desk from him with a long face. “How are you feeling?” he asked kindly.

I shook my head, “Not so good. My husband lost his job!”

Without hesitation, he said with a smile, “Better, better, better!”

I must have looked startled, as I’d expected him to understand that losing one’s job is not a good thing.

He said, “Better job, you’ll see! Better, better, better!”

His words were filled with conviction. Behind them, I sensed the experience of a lifetime. I felt myself relax. The gloom that hung over my heart lifted.

And, it turned out, he was correct. My husband did get a better job, one that he was better suited for and which doubled his salary.

We now find ourselves, when “bad” things happen, looking at each other and saying “Better, better, better!” Especially those things that feel like setbacks or reversals, the things that at first, we cannot find anything good that could possibly come out of it. We may have to wait to see the better, sometimes even years (even many years), but if we look, we’ll find it.

My experience of life is that when something is taken away from me, something else is given. I’m talking about growth, not about having everything be just as I’d like it to be. Sometimes it seems the only thing that is gained is hard-earned wisdom. I’ll take that!

And, for every hard experience I’ve endured in my life, I have found myself that much more compassionate when I’ve come across someone else who is now going through what I’ve gone through, or something similar. I can encourage them.

When things seem to go wrong, perhaps they’re just being rearranged for some greater benefit. We can work with being patient. We can try to suspend judgement and not panic. This isn’t easy. But at some point, we need to decide for ourselves: Do we trust life? Our answer to that one question will determine our ultimate happiness.