Going through some journals this morning I came across an old article in the newspaper from Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I know why I kept it as we have similar views on embracing suffering. I want to share some of her wisdom to encourage us.
She had a radio program where callers would call in for advice. This particular caller said she was having trouble making a decision. Laura replied, “Is the problem really in knowing the right thing to do, or is it that the right thing to do is so difficult or painful?” The caller’s dilemma was choosing between doing the right thing or giving up her fiance’. She said that was easier said than done and she did not want to suffer.
Laura explained without suffering, she couldn’t accomplish her goal of being noble, brave or righteous. Without suffering, you can’t become more than human. And right now you are only focusing on the suffering, not on what you’ll attain through it.
At this point you’re actually causing yourself more pain by not accepting the correctness of your decision and by not embracing your suffering which ultimately supports that decision.
“Open your arms and get busy with the task of suffering through this.”
At the end of the call the woman seemed a lot more calm and focused. Somehow, accepting that the suffering was part of the garden of life, not an intruder into an otherwise perfect field of flowers, made it easier for her to accept and appreciate how the garden grows.
Looking for suffering is a sign of mental disturbance. Intentionally causing others to suffer is evil. But accepting the reality of suffering as an integral part of the struggle of life gives one strength, resolve, and even purpose.
Life affords us a miraculous opportunity for creativity, joy, and love. But these are not the only ways to find meaning and purpose. It is through our response to suffering that we sometimes plumb the greatest depths so that we can eventually soar to the greatest heights of what is potentially human.
In embracing our suffering, we have the opportunity to conquer our fears and weaknesses and ultimately find new ways to bring something important to the world.