Tag Archives: Sadness

A Thought on Suffering

I often share things I come across in my reading, and see on other people’s blogs that I find noteworthy and that touch me.  It’s one way in which I share my heart, and what I feel that the Lord is revealing to me.  Now for confession time.  Sometimes I share what others do because I have a hard time sharing me.  It’s hard to look at myself honestly, to see myself in the light of truth; so often because what I see looking back at me I don’t like.  After 49 years, you’d think I’d be more comfortable with who I am, but I still struggle with looking at that person in the mirror and liking what I see there.  It’s always been far easier for me to love other people  than it has been to love myself.  I can give to other people, but allowing other people to give to me is terribly hard.

It’s a hard thing to admit.  Can I tell you it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone could love me, even God, and I have a hard time dealing with it.  Allowing myself to receive love has been a life-long process.  I tend to try to hide in plain sight.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is if you try to hide by hiding someone always finds you, but if you just stand in the middle of the room and smile more often than not people do seldom more than show a polite interest in you then leave you alone.  From that I’ve learned something else.  You can never really tell who’s suffering.  You can tell when someone is in physical pain, but you can’t always see suffering.

Having experienced both, I can say that the physical pain is often easier to bear, and easier to deal with in some ways.  You can take drugs legal and otherwise to lessen pain-the physical kind anyway-but suffering isn’t always that easy to alleviate.  It might help to just go ahead and define “suffering” for the sake of this writing as in the emotional sense because that’s what I’m talking about.  Emotional pain.  In this regard, I know I’m just one of many, and in a lot of ways I don’t feel that my, quote “suffering” in any way compares to that of some other people I’ve seen and known.  Not that we’re comparing because in truth “suffering”  is “suffering” no matter who does it, or what the cause of it may be.  I’ve known people who make a game of it.  Who try to manipulate it, and use it for their own gain, but nobody has a monopoly on it, and those who think they do often don’t even really know the first thing about it.  If you’ve ever heard the term, “suffering in silence” you know it didn’t come about from talking about it.

It’s a fact that no one of us ever escapes this life unscathed.  We all have our scars.  The worst ones are the ones nobody sees, and often they hurt the worst.  Often the people who carry such scars are the ones we don’t see.  It’s not the drunk, the drug addict, the welfare recipient, that are the ones truly carrying the invisible scars-though they may be-but rather it’s the middle or high school student found hanging or over-dosed that nobody saw coming, the young wife and mother found lying in her bed with a bottle of pills beside her, or the senior husband in the smoke-filled car.  Too often it’s the ones we didn’t see coming that suffered the most.

It says something about our world and the people that live in it that we’re so quick to judge them.  You and I have both heard the varied explanations and terms used in referring to those who have chosen to end their suffering themselves, and maybe even used those explanations and terms ourselves.  How callous and ignorant are we to think that they’re condemned for all eternity because of a bad decision.  It’s that kind of thinking and response on the part of people that gave rise to “suffering in silence” in the first place.

Some of us have had the misfortune of having some really bad, ugly, awful things happen to us in our lives, and we’ve suffered because of them, but there’s a truth that most of us don’t realize, and spend the better part of our lives trying to ignore, and it’s the fact that this is a world of suffering.  None of us escape it, are immune from it, and the harsh reality is that we’ve all taken our turn at the wheel at both ends of the car.

I’ve said all the above to say this, that there is an answer to suffering, but it lies in understanding what suffering is and it’s role in the world we live in.  We spend our lives listening to a world that says that there is no sense, no rhyme or reason, to why there’s suffering.  That there can be no God or a God not worth loving and serving who allows suffering.  Nothing is more untrue and false than this, and is the ultimate deception of the devil.  Who of us, myself, included, would be who I am, and who I am, becoming without having suffered? To feel unloved, to experience pain, to doubt oneself, to question one’s role and relationship to the world and the people in one’s life, are these not all experiences that set us in search of truth, of love?  And if we take our search seriously, if we look for it with all our hearts, is there any doubt to it’s destination.  We don’t travel the path of life (and suffer along the way) to come to a what….but rather to who….  You can take it from here….

Stuck in an alternate Universe

     I left off with being stuck in an alternate universe in my last post, and that’s exactly how it was.  Stuck.  There I was looking in the windows of storefront panes, dirty, scraggly, a caricature of someone vaguely familiar.  Sleeping wherever I could find a place I wouldn’t be hasseled by the cops when it was warm enough to sleep out, and fighting for space in a shelter that contained double bunks for maybe a couple hundred men when it wasn’t.  When you’re standing in the midst of a sea of men the odds of catching a bunk aren’t very good, and when you’re unlucky, which I was; you don’t catch many.  On the rare occasions when I actually got one, it was better than being outside, but not by much.  I may have gotten a bunk on occasion, but I was never lucky enough to get the top bunk.  Try sleeping underneath someone who weighs a hundred pounds more than the bunk’s capacity, snores with the reverberation of thunder clapping, and tries to use your head as a footstool.  It’s like’s trying to sleep underneath an elephant.  You wouldn’t think I’d have run into that very much, but you’d be surprised.  I told you I was unlucky.:)

     If I didn’t get that, I got the guy sleeping across from me that looked like Charles Manson; who’d look at me with insentient eyes, and make chirping noises at me all night.  More than once I caught people rifling through the little bit of stuff I may have managed to scrape together, and if you made a problem out of it the shelter would promptly kick you out, and it didn’t matter who started it.  I spent the majority of nights outside, and the cold ones were spent cowering anyplace I could find that would break the wind shivering uncontrollably.  There’s no such place as comfortable or safe in the alternate universe.

     Have you ever been hurt so bad that you couldn’t lay still.  I was like that.  I couldn’t change the reality I lived in, but I moved around a lot.   I didn’t know it at the time but it was moving around in the alternate universe that opened a door within it.

Life Of The Believer

     I’ve debated about what to call my blog, and tossed around some different ideas, but I keep coming back to this one.  Mainly because it’s what I want to write about, that is my life and what I believe.  You may be asking yourself what is it that I believe, and as you read these pages you’ll find out, but first I’d like to tell you why I’ve decided to write this blog.  You know that motivation is everything, and too often, I think that people fail to look at a person’s motivation when evaluating what someone does.  People, I think, tend to take things at face value rather than looking deeper, and I think that’s one of the reasons why people are so easily deceived.

     There comes a time in everyone’s life, especially when they’re older, and perhaps wiser, that they start looking back at their lives and evaluating what they’ve done with them, and, for me, that time is now.  I’m a little dismayed that it’s taken me so long  to start that process but nonetheless it’s started.  One thing that’s remained a constant in my life is the fact that I’ve always been a late bloomer, always coming to things a little late.  That goes for the rate of my maturity and my realizations concerning the life I live.  Better late than never though, right?  If nothing else, at least, you can take comfort in knowing that there’s someone else in this world like you, if you happen to be like me, and feel like you’re always a little behind.

     If you’ve read my profile, you know that I’m 49 years old, and if statistics are any kind of measurement at all, that means I’ve already lived over half of my life.  Fine time to start having revelations about one’s life, huh?  Could be worse, I could be 59 or 69, and I won’t go any further because then I think I’d be forced to admit that I’m not just slow, but perhaps something else.  I’ll let you fill in the blank.  Judging from what I’ve read on the internet and who you are that could be a wide range of things, but I’ve learned that one thing I can’t control in life is what people think of me, and how they respond to me.  Hopefully, you learned that before I did.

     Anyway, in looking back, and having a lot to look back upon, I have come to a few conclusions.  It’s rare that I ever come to one because I have a tendency to overthink things, and, more often than not, I’m the guy in Wal-Mart walking through the store holding an item for 30 to 45 minutes debating on whether I want to purchase it or not.  You guessed it, didn’t you?  9 out of 10 times I leave the store without it.  It drives my wife crazy as you can imagine.  She has helped me with this though in her own unique way by making it harder for me by simply grabbing whatever it is I’m debating about, and taking it away from me and not letting me put it back.  Being forced to pay for stuff I’m not sure of has simplified my life by giving me two options which are either being more decisive or shopping by myself.   I’m sorry to have made you read through this, but it was such a wonderful opportunity to score points with my wife that I couldn’t pass it up.  If you’re married you understand why I mentioned the benefit of being married to this awesome woman.  If you’re not, and you get married some day in the future, you will.

     Sorry for the digression, but you may as well find out now that I do this from time to time.   This, too, drives my wife crazy, but after twelve years of happy married life I’ve quit worrying about her sanity.  I still worry about mine, but not hers which leads me to one of the conclusions I’ve come to, and it’s this; married life to the right woman is about as close to heaven as I’m ever going to experience here on earth.  Another conclusion is that a bad marriage is the same thing only it’s in the opposite direction, and I know this, as I know everything else, by experience.  Another conclusion, and by far the most painful, is that at 49 I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot of distance between the man I envisioned myself being as a young boy and the man I am today. 

     As in most things, the failures and successes of my life have been a mixture of bad decision making, and circumstances of over which I had no control.  In other words, life happened.  Ready for another conclusion; if you lead life without any kind of direction it’s a certainity that you won’t get anywhere.  Even for those who do it’s not easy but, as anyone who’s ever driven to an unknown destination knows, it’s a little easier when you know where you’re going.  Still, there’s always hope, and never is life all bad or good, at least it’s been that way for me.  Seldom does anyone’s life ever turn out to be everything one may have dreamed, but neither is it the nightmare it could always be.  All the above is to say simply this, though my life hasn’t been all that I wanted it to be, it’s been good in many ways. 

     Still, there are things I regret, periods of time in which I failed myself, and others miserably.  I made serious mistakes which impacted my life, and the lives of others.  It’s one thing to pay for one’s mistakes, but it’s a terrible thing when the ones you love most are the ones who pay.  It’s my hope that you won’t ever experience this, but if you have you’re not alone.  I’d like to tell you that I’ve made amends for all those things I did, and that there’s been reconciliation and forgiveness, and in some cases there has been, but not in all.  I can’t go back, and you can’t either, and it’s a fact that we can only go forward in life.  Well, that’s not wholly true; you can live in the past in your mind and heart.  You can even stand still, refuse to move forward, but I don’t recommend either one.

     By now you’re probably wondering what all this is leading to, and it’s this.  My motivation for writing.  I’ve spent the better part of my life living for myself, but I’ve concluded I don’t want to spend the rest of it the same way.  I want to know that at least with a part of my life I did something good with it.  Maybe sharing experiences in this way isn’t the best way, but it’s a beginning.  If you’ve read this far perhaps you’ll go a little further, and I’ll try not to make the  next one so long.