Willing to Suffer

Steph here.

Suffering. Feeling distress…enduring pain….an inevitable part of life. I’ve been trying to face the pain and sorrow that dwells in my heart brought there by events out of my control. I’ve been trying to register the suffering and make some sense of it. But sometimes when I look sadness, hurt, loss, and pain straight in the face, I wonder if there is any sense to be made, or if I’ll ever stop barely treading water in its depths.

By S.J. Laney

 

Often, lately, I feel completely frozen inside, as if suffering has a paralyzing power that renders my brain, my heart, my body completely useless. Yet, I’m still alive, still breathing. When Lindsey comes home from work, I still hug her and look in her eyes and have conversations. I still managed this past week to wash the dishes and cook dinners and make a meal menu and grocery list for the month and wander around the grocery store buying a month’s worth of groceries on Saturday. It’s strange because I don’t feel like I’m living; I only feel like I’m existing. Is this the power of suffering? Is this my fate because Lindsey and I are facing such a huge mountain of difficulty that the very nature of it can not be shared because it is so far reaching, so personal?

What about quality living? Where does it go, where can it be, in the face of suffering? If life ceases to feel like living, how can living well be done when there is suffering? And if life (as we all know is true) has so much suffering and difficulty and pain, then is living our lives to the fullest consistently possible at all?

You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering. ~ Henri-Frederic Amiel 

I am beginning to realize that it is in the willing that living my life to the fullest is found….even in the midst of great suffering. Am I willing to open my heart in acceptance of good and bad? If I am, then I can benefit and grow from all experiences regardless of their nature. That is life to the fullest.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ~Helen Keller 

Am I willing my heart forward despite the paralyzing effects of suffering? If I am, then I won’t let  the suffering stop me from living even if it does fool me with feelings and leave me wondering when the sun will shine inside my heart again. Deciding (with an act of the will) to not give up despite the deep wells of pain that life can bring…that is life to the fullest.

When I open my eyes in the morning and the reality of our present suffering comes crashing into my mind, it may not seem to me that my life could be anywhere near our goal of living life to the fullest and creating quality moments with our choices. But, I’m beginning to realize that I couldn’t be any more wrong about that.

Through the act of willing and the acceptance that comes from being willing, I am walking the path of truly living through suffering.

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival. ~Winston Churchill 

By S.J. Laney

I am willing.

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