The Silver Lining: If We Could Only See It

When my Mom and I started planning the new site for The Silver Lining News, we decided to start a tradition that every staff member should include their own silver lining story, beginning with ourselves. But we quickly realized how much easier it is to identify the silver lining in other people’s stories than it is to identify it in our own stories.

So many random, little tender mercies grace our lives every day, but how long do we remember them? It may have been someone that gave up a cab or parking spot and consequently, you were able to make your critical meeting, or an officer that gave you a break when you accelerated to the doctor’s office with a feverish kid.

Silver linings, we think, come in many forms: favors, flukes and just being darn lucky sometimes.  And that’s why, when looking inward, it may not be so easy for you to recognize a silver lining, much less know how to tell the story. Mrs. S. Hall, a book reviewer, observed this too in a review of the novel Marian; or, a Young Maid’s Fortunes,published in The Dublin Magazine, Volume 1, 1840. “As Katty Macane has it, ‘there’s a silver lining to every cloud that sails about the heavens if we could only see it.’”

An SLN how-to:

At SLN, we’ve developed our own simple formula to help you identify the silver lining stories in your own life:

  • Give it time: 
    If you can’t see your silver lining in a situation yet, you are probably still in the middle of the event. Give it time for things to evolve and change before you try to look for your silver lining. Your best silver linings are most identifiable from the occasions that have past.
  •  Keep a daily diary:
    This is not blogging or journaling. A diary is shorter than journaling and is more appointment and event oriented – it’s a list of what happened during the day. It will jog the peripheral things that happened around your daily tasks.
  • Take a past-life assessment:
    What happened in your home, school, sport, job, career pursuits, and relationships; what are the significant things in these areas that were game changers?
  • What did you learn from the experience? What was the take away?
  • Identify those people who were there: what did they bring to the game or event?
  • What gratitude did you develop for the experience?

Maria Niles, contributing editor at, and Hollye Jacobs, speaker, nurse, social worker, child development specialist, and author, also says that developing gratitude is the turn key to identifying a silver lining, especially in difficulties when silver linings are harder to see. Here’s their take, and a couple of others, about grasping your silver lining story:

Live Life as a Thank You

13 Ways to Find the Silver Lining in Just About Anything

Keep Calm and Find the Silver Lining in Life

15 Choices that Lead to Finding the Silver Lining in Life

  • Don’t look at only the happy endings:
    The general meaning of the proverb “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining,” according to The Phrase Finder, is that every bad situation has some good aspect to it. But at SLN, We understand reality means that sometimes there isn’t a happy ending or even something that is necessarily good.

Rather a silver lining is anything redemptive which elevates something to a level above what it would be otherwise. Silver linings can grow, they can diminish, but at the very least, they are a sigh of relief that holds value and potential. Grief experts say sometimes seeing that takes a significant amount of time — after the “clean-up” and healing phase following a loss.

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from the medicine man, Ketut Liyer, in “Eat, Love, Pray.” He sees that Felipe has a broken heart from his divorce and says, “This okay. To have broken heart means you have tried for something.”  This is perspective, which we believe, in and of itself, is good and moves us forward.

When you find your silver linings, please share them with us. You may ask: “Who cares about hearing what my “sigh of relief” was? – something as insignificant as that?  Let me answer that with another question:
Who cares that famous fashion model Kendall Jenner’s dog is pooping all over Kris Kardashian’s house and it is extremely upsetting to her that her daughter Kendall, who owns the dog, is too busy to take care of it?

Well, apparently quite a few people were interested in this episode of ““Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and other episodes. The series attracted 2.3 million viewers in 2013, according to USA Today. Please. If the Kardashians’ story about doggy diarrhea can hold an audience…well, then! We think that’s because it just comes down to the everyday human experience and somehow, we don’t feel so alone in it when we see that even affluent celebrities deal with the same poop in their lives that we do.

Your silver lining story might just be the light bulb to someone out there who is saying: “If I could only see it.”

-Linda T. Kennedy

Taking it outside the lines, literally.

Hello folks, and welcome to the SLN Editors’ blog, a place where SLN Editors can share their soliloquies — thoughts and reflections about, well, the myriad of things journalists think about. Some call it blogging, but here, we’ll call it “soliloquizing.” If other journalists are like me, they love to think about life in stories. 

And here’s the most important story that we want to share today: Pippi’s Story

This is my first blog post on a topic that wasn’t planned – I did not plan on diverting from launching this publication according to our plan. But if there’s one essential component to a silver lining, it’s that usually, a silver lining never results from something that went according to plan.    

We made a decision this week to the launch The Silver Lining News, now, today, while it’s still under construction. And we would say “pardon the dust” but there isn’t even enough dust to pardon, yet. You will notice, our sections still lack content. And there’s a good reason for that. Our values are superseding our best laid “strategy” and “plans” – you know, all the formal grown-up business stuff.

That’s because we (the handful of staff that we are right now) deeply value that “done is better than perfect” sometimes. And “perfect” for us wouldn’t have been “perfect” if we launched without the LSG Fund series, posted in On Our Watch.  This bittersweet story really encapsulates all that we’re doing this for – our purpose, our mission, our beliefs and hopes with this publication.

We did not want to hold off longer and miss the timely opportunity to shed light on one small dog’s very special effort to impact the world of education for the better. Yes, you read it right – there’s a dog out there, Pippi Badger, a 6-pound maltipoo, who has been working tirelessly the past month. If you didn’t click Pippi’s story above, please go now to: “You Can’t Memorize This.”

You could essentially say that by launching now, we are truly coloring outside the lines ourselves. But in the spirit of a child setting a popsicle-stick boat out to sail, we are launching with abandonment and joy. We’re just “doing it” — putting it down here and now, the best we can, with what we have.

Like a kid who only has so much time before the bell rings to finish what he can, we’re just pleased to turn this in today and say, “Look! we did this much!” Yes, we don’t have social media yet. Yes, there are many things missing – things we’ll notice weeks from now that we would have, should have, could have done. And yes, we are intentionally doing this anyway.

We have the sources in our first stories to thank for the inspiration to “just do it.” Here’s what’s great about people living large, beyond their scope of know-how; it gives others the guts to try it, too. But when you talk to people who have ignited a change in education with no educational background, like the LSG family. Or an executive, such as Alan Pederson, executive director of The Compassionate Friends, you “get it.”

Pederson is running the largest grief organization in the world and working with the top grief experts in the world, including the head of psychiatry at Columbia University. Yet he accomplished all of this without having a college degree, himself. “We write together and speak together – how could have that happened?” Pederson rhetorically asks. “How could have that possibly happened with a guy who only has a year of college from Colorado, that he could be speaking at Columbia University to all their future grief counselors and therapists? Because I just backed it on my love for Ashley.” It’s passion of purpose for Pederson, who got involved with the organization when he lost his daughter in a car accident 13 years ago.

And we have a purpose at SLN  that we are very passionate about too. We believe that despite the volumes of information available to news consumers nowadays, there’s still some things missing — primarily, silver linings.

“Go-get-it–ness” is contagious. And if you land in a belly flop, the silver lining is that you were air borne, at least for a minute. This is not to say there is not a time and place to learn, strategize, plan and execute well-learned skills. It’s to say that learning is something that you do along the way, work in progress. Like children, we (SLN) are a work in progress.

So, it’s actually a fitting way for us lead out with our own mission (the go-get-it part, not the belly flop part), to model our launch in the spirit of the best kind of “start-ups” out there: children. If you think about it, kids are humanity’s most important “start-ups.” They’re just starting up in life and what we give them now – our time, skills, experience, opportunities, is what we, as their predecessors will benefit from later. I have a question; how many 80+-year-old patients are being treated by physicians who are “older and wiser” than they are? (That’s what I thought.)

The values, skills, creativity and innovation we, as an aging baby-boomer society will rely on now and in the future, will so critically depend on the education we place in our kid’s hands today. And the great thing about kids is they are so naturally inquisitive, intuitive, creative and courageous, that given a few good tools, their potential is boundless. Today, though, it starts with Pippi. Please help her out if you haven’t already.

You go, Pippi!

-Linda T. Kennedy
Launch Editor

P.S. Mom, you are the biggest kid at heart who I know. Congratulations, you are finally launched!