We’ve been on a rather intense journey these past two weeks, haven’t we? I didn’t see an in-depth exploration of suffering coming our way when it did, but I’m really thankful for the chance to have slowed down the metronome of life for a bit to say, “Wait. Let’s look at this. This is real. This is hard. Let’s give it its worthy due.”
I’m sensing that Monday will begin a new turn in this exploration. We’ll continue to look at suffering, but from different angles than we have been. For instance, it has felt really important to me that, thus far in our exploration together, we just sit with the reality of the pain — not gloss over it, not move too quickly to the consolation, not try to look on the positive side or potentially redemptive aspects of suffering just yet.
That’s been really important to me here because I want to honor the reality of our pain.
I’m coming to believe the deepest, purest healing happens when we let ourselves go into the depths of pain, when we allow ourselves to see and acknowledge the truth of it and how it is affecting or has affected us.
And so today, although we have not by any means exhausted all the ways that suffering impacts us, I want to take a minute to look at what we have noticed:
- Suffering forms us.
- Suffering makes us angry.
- Suffering shuts us down.
- Suffering magnifies our aloneness.
- Suffering exposes injustice.
And in the midst of those glimpses, I want us to notice this truth:
Suffering invites grief.
Do you allow yourself to grieve how you have suffered?
I really respect what one of our readers, Bonnie, shared in a comment earlier this week. She shared that she is in a season of suffering right now and said this about her experience: “I know I need to sit with it, I cannot hurry it along and no one else can either … I cannot be cheered up right now, and in fact, I do not want to be.”
Grief is so painful. And yet, it also dignifies the pain. It pays respect to what was lost: something of great value to us.
How does your own suffering invite you into grief?