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Friday, May 19, 2017

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken: Reflections On Suffering

I am deeply humbled that my first post about the accident has been read (according to the blog) over 1500 times. I don't deserve to be in the company of a few of those who read it, and appreciated it. These further thoughts of mine intend to honor them through their ongoing challenges, much greater than my own.

You often hear advice to the effect that you shouldn't "explain" what's going on to a suffering person, and that's true. We are so committed to the fact of our loving God that this seemingly contradictory information in the form of the suffering is problematic. Some folks are just awkward or self-involved, too. Most people mean well, and that's enough.

But what about the meaning of it all? I offered some thoughts before, and I did so because it's my suffering. I don't intend to apply it to anyone else's situation, but feel free if it helps. I felt joy, and I am a witness, so it seemed right. Was it in spite of the suffering? No, not for me. It has been alongside it, like two friends.

Suffering and pain are what they are. No vision truly alters suffering in itself. But knowing who we are and what we're doing allows us to persevere, to persist. My life need not be defined by the dark valleys of my suffering, but it's part of the definition. It's part of me now. No one but you and God can define the difference between hopeless complaining, and acknowledging the reality of suffering. But if I had one thing to offer, it would be this: be your best you, as much as possible, for as long as possible. The great temptation for us now is despair, that it will join with the suffering and become some new reality.

The truth is, though, you have lived and fought and loved this far, and no one can take it away. But don't forget it yourself! Who knows what happens from here? But we burn brightly, as long as there is opportunity.

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