Saturday, January 15, 2011


I've been ruminating a lot on pain and suffering. Not a feel-good topic, I know. But one that's necessary? Blessedly, I am not thinking of this so much in terms of my own personal life, but more from one who is seeing it manifest more and more in the lives of others.

And I can't say that I have anything new to offer the subject. It's just that as one grows older, this portion of reality assumes the form of unavoidable. Though we certainly try our hardest to withdraw from it, as John Steinbeck says, "like a child who abolishes the world by looking away from it. " We attempt this annihilation, even as adults, though it grows more difficult.

But ignoring truth won't make it go away.

And it beseeches acknowledgement.

Even ten years ago, it would have been hard to imagine the tragedies and complications life was going to deal out to those I know. Diseases, deaths, divorces to name but a few of the more common place cruelties.

I've been weighing lately, what it would have been like to hear these fortunes pronounced when we were all still innocent, before our first tastes of death and tragedy, to have a grim reaper sort visit our schools, us all in assembly, and predict what was going to befall each of us.

I don't think we could have handled it. Would we even have believed it?

I suppose it's inescapable and there's not a human on this planet who hasn't been contaminated in some way by sickness or sadness.

It might be the hardest thing for humans to explain. The why of pain. The point. The purpose. And there's so many different layers, reasons, manifestations, that one simple answer would never do.

Maybe some don't question or dwell on these type of thoughts but I've never been one capable of tuning out. And though I believe strongly in the idea that ignorance is bliss, I don't think that one of us is called to that.

I search, because I feel. My feelings are tied up in my thoughts and I can't separate one from the other, nor would I want to. And it comforts me to find that there are names for this condition. There are many books out there now, speaking of 'highly intuitive' people. People who feel others feelings. And it is of greater interest to me, because I have a child this way, in whom anxiety demonstrates itself because she takes on too much of what is other's.

Wouldn't I wish a certain oblivion for her, knowing what the heavy knowledge has been to me all my life?

But in the end, I believe that we live in a fallen world. And that in some ways this is all inevitable.

And I pray, fervently for my children's protection against illness of any sort, catastrophes,accidents, heartbreaks, anything not good and pure and lovely.

How naive.

I heard recently on Christian radio, someone speaking of this, saying that he too used to pray these all encompassing but simple prayers but now he prays that when his children do encounter that ugly bit of truth of affliction in their existence, (because he knows they will) that they will know how to cope with it. Or more aptly put, Who to go to for help in coping with it.

So, though there is no great easy way to explain meaning on any one ounce of suffering I've endured or have my loved ones, and there are things which just ache inside us, take our breath away, I can say that had I not the knowledge of God, I would simply drown in it all. My heart is too tender for this world. This is what I've always thought. And what I've often prayed; "God, I don't belong here. If it's going to be this bad and hurt this much WHY did you put us here?"

In the end all I'm certain of is that this is not all there is. Thank God. Because if it would be hopeless. I find my only hope in knowing that there's something bigger, a Being who has the answers when I don't, Who will complete all of everything, Who really cries with me and captures tears and loves with an amazing love even as we are unaware.

And I think He not only allows our eyes to be open to the suffering as we grow but also asks to share in the suffering. To share tears with God and cry at what makes Him cry.

He asks if we are willing.

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