suffering + love
Recently, someone close to me was diagnosed with cancer. I was shocked - she seemed so robust, so unlikely a victim. Fearing she would find it hard to come to terms with, I longed for her to see it in a spiritual light, but felt precocious: who was I to say such things? So I just wrote to her sharing my shock and sympathy.
When I saw her two months later, the tables were turned. It was I who sat at her feet, hearing her tell of the profound things she had learned. Instead of raging against the doctors' failure to notice her illness in time for cure, she had come to believe it was a necessary part of her growth. She was radiating joy. The illness had helped her come to terms with some of her most hurtful and humiliating memories - removing the guilt she had felt all her life. I was struck by the healing power suffering can have.
I have met many who, having accepted their suffering, turned their wounds into sources of healing. Suffering comes in many forms and is often no fault of our own - the struggle for survival in slums around the world, the terror of war or occupation, those born with disabilities.