Good Sunday Morning Dear Friend! A friend opened up to me the other day to share the private hell he has found himself enduring. His life has turned on him in a sense, leaving him in the vortex of a great storm. He described a whitewater-like experience…letting go of illusions while clinging to the things that matter most.
Gen. 3:16-19 – “in pain you shall bring forth children…in sorrow you shall eat…”
There is literally life’s greatest “grist for the mill” in our own suffering. There is no greater image of suffering on this earth than in the very cross we wear around our necks. Listening to my friend describe the family experience that has shaken lose the very foundation of his world, it brought back memories of my own darker days.
It also made me think of the comments a reader posted in response to a previous Tune-up, where she called my attention to the suffering of teens trying to find their way in life. From the beginning to the end, aren’t we all really nomads journeying through desert, appreciating the occasional oasis, suffering the merciless dry arid stretches, with or without companionship…truly alone?
I realize that degree of suffering is related to how we identify with ourselves. We know that people who identify with what they have rather than who they are will ultimately suffer more because they have more to lose. This is also why our own children suffer more than we remember…because they haven’t figured out who they are yet!
Perhaps the greatest and most tragic irony of all time is the suffering we have prescribed for ourselves by foolishly attempting to legislate it out of existence. You know…from the innocence of every kid gets a trophy to the more seasoned and sinister bail-outs and too big to fail. I’ve always loved this one! God himself can go to the Cross, but Jamie Dimon is too big to pay for his sins?
The only fool greater than the one who believes the oasis goes on forever is the one who makes his mind up that the misery will never end, while both squander the grist-like lesson of their moments. What will my last thought be? Did you know that one of the most powerful spiritual exercises you can do is to program your subconscious every night right before you go to sleep…and that following that up with prayer and meditation every morning is to your spiritual being what a vitamin B-12 shot is to the physical body? Intention…
Finally, suffering is like Truth. It’s not something we believe…its something that is. When it comes to us, we need to embrace it rather than run from it for a number of reasons, not the least of which is our own purification. It brings us closer to God because there is simply nothing that can humble us and bring us to our knees with a more deliberate urgency than suffering. In fact we move from close to God to in his arms from the Love we experience in the suffering of others. That is the Light of Calvary…which is why it has been said that “relationship” is the springboard to God.
Use this time well my friends, whether you are dwelling in lush Eden, or hanging in the torment of agonizing pain. Connect with yourself through prayer and meditation as if your life depended on it…because it most surely will.
Love is a light on the side of a shadow, here today…gone tomorrow. Help is…here!