Thoughts on Suffering

I had the privilege of getting a pre-press copy of Pres Gillham's new novel, The Battle for the Round Tower. It is the sequel to "No Mercy" .

The story is a profound allegory and wildly engaging, but as I was reading about Hank Henderson and his adventures, a paragraph of Pres's words jumped out and hung with me...

Suffering is like truth serum. It strips all the varnish from life revealing any flaw any assumption, any delusion...

Suffering guards and ensures honesty--all the time, about everything, in every way about ourselves..

Every once in awhile I read something that is a new thought for me.  Something that strikes me as overwhelmingly true. As John and I talked about the idea later that night, John said, "I don't think that is true for everybody." When I asked him what he meant by that, he said, "Some people don't own their suffering.  They are busy placing blame, so it doesn't change their perspective."

While I have definitely seen that happen, pain is hard to ignore.

Suffering is a common theme of our human experience. No one is immune. And something in our souls knows that it is not a part of the original design.  We want to escape it. (Which is why anesthetics like drugs, alcohol, sex and escapism are popular options.)

What if pain is "truth serum" only if you have the courage to engage it? If you stop running and sit with it letting it reveal what it is designed to reveal?  It would seem there is an element with pain of surrender. Not depression or despair, but simple permission to let it do its work. 

I know I have known those who have gotten lost in the escape and others who have had their sight changed by the experience. And oddly sometimes those who have suffered the most, have the greatest capacity for joy.  As if the pain has revealed not only weakness, but also great beauty along the way.

The thing about suffering is that it would seem to have a time and place...boundaries it is not allowed to cross. It is never the sum total. (Though that can be a difficult perspective to maintain when in the midst of it.)  

I don't understand suffering, nor completely ken its purpose. But I do know that it has one, else it would not exist. 

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall