Sunday, June 21

The one on suffering

I read the article on suffering by a Catholic priest, Father Ronald Rolheiser and it struck a chord. I found it comforting and meaningful and it is something that I would like to keep in mind. I hope you draw strength from it too. Here are some excerpts:

"Lost is a place too...being down-and-out, alone, lost, struggling for meaning, and looking bad, is also a valid place to be."

I've always considered myself independent and capable of handling my life. Naturally I don't like the feeling of being lost. It gives me lots of anxiety and frustration. I think most people feel the same way. This is a nice reminder that being lost is a valid place to be and as long as I recognise this, it will help me ride through my own insecurities and anxieties. We often forget that suffering is the flip side of joy.

"..this is a good place to be, a biblical and mystical place. that doesn't make it less painful or humiliating. It just gives you the consolation of knowing that you're in a valid place, a necessary one, and that everyone before you, spent some time there and everyone, including all those people who seem to be forever on top of the world, will spend some time there too. The desert spares nobody. Dark nights eventually find us all."

"knowing this doesn't make it easier to accept feeling lost and on the outside, especially in a world in which being successful is everything. That is why it's hard to ever admit, even to our closest friends, that we're struggling, tasting more ashes than glory."

"...inside that place, our souls are being shaped in ways we cannot understand but in ways that will stretch and widen them for a deeper love and happiness in the future.

"Beauty is ultimately more about the size of our hearts, about how much they can empathise, and about how widely and unselfishly they can embrace. To that end, the desert heat of loneliness is helpful in softening the heart, enough at least to let it be painfully stretched. That happens more easily when we're lost, feeling like unanimity-minus-one, unsure of ourselves, empty of consolation, aching in frustration, and running a psychic temperature. Not pleasant but it's a place too.

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