A Moment of Suffering

27 Sep

suffering

Because we live in a world that seeks beauty without effort and success without hard work, we have come to misunderstand what it means to suffer.

Suffering is not something that happens to be people who are bad or deserve it. Suffering is a part of the process of living. Through our suffering we learn to accept that we are not in control…and we’re not supposed to be. That control we think we possess is an illusion and suffering will cause the mirage to fade.

In truth, suffering is what we were dong before things became uncomfortable. It didn’t feel like suffering because we have mastered the art of anesthetizing our feelings. And then one day the suffering that has been going unnoticed becomes so strong it cannot be ignored. At that moment we would like to believe that it is something that suddenly happened. Unfortunately, it had probably been happening for quite some time.

Remember the tone of the country after 9/11? People were afraid because it seemed to happen so suddenly. Then remember the shock and horror when it was discovered that the pilots were trained here in our country and had probably been plotting that event for years. It’s scary to think about; however, had we already been taking certain precautions, had we not become so narcissistic as to think we were above being struck down, it might never have happened that way. The good thing is that, despite the way it happened, what happened in the aftermath of suffering was beautiful, wanted, and needed. People helped one another. People were gentle and compassionate with one another. It was one of the most beautiful things I have seen. The country was bound together in love through our suffering. Suffering forces us to pull on the best of our humanity.

A friend of mine once prided himself on his education, his career, and the success of what he had accomplished. Then he was fired from his job. In the course of the next year he lost his home, his car, his fiance, and a good number of people he had considered friends. He took it in stride and continued to laugh and smile. One day I sat with him and I asked him if he was happy. He looked at me with a quiet sadness in his eyes and said, “I hated that job, I never could afford that house or car, and I never believed my girlfriend and I would be together forever. I wasn’t happy then. So, you can’t lose something you never had.”

Suffering humbles the spirit and forces us to look beyond all the superficial, temporary things that we use to make us “happy.” Suffering strips us down to our true selves and in our suffering we see our life for what it really is.

So the next time we find ourselves suffering, we shouldn’t waste time feeling sorry for ourselves and trying to blame someone or something for where we are. Instead we should see it for what it is: an opportunity to know the truth and respond to the truth with the best that we have.

Suffering, like so many things in life, works in contradiction to teach us life lessons. Only the heartbroken ever really understand love, only the poor ever appreciate wealth, only those that suffer ever truly understand life.

Violet Ambitions turn suffering into healing.

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