What is there to gain from suffering?

Sometimes I find myself wondering, why is it that people have to die? Why is it that we must suffer? And though I don’t claim to be religious, I do find comfort in things from several religions. Being that I was raised a Christian, this is usually my first go to.

Like most people who have an unanswerable question, I took to Google. Not just because I’ve felt suffering, but because I feel that my suffering doesn’t even begin to compare to some other people. Why is it that I can hope for a brighter future, when there are others staring into an inevitable darkness? What makes me so special, or so ordinary? Sometimes so capable of taking my suffering in stride an other times feeling like I carry the weight of a world full of pain?

I am probably what most would call a “bleeding heart.” I am always trying to put myself in someone else’s shoes, feel their suffering and understand their pain. Though I’m not always at my best, this can lead me to some dark and somber places. When I took to Google to ask the question, “Why do some people suffer more than others?” what came back surprised me and brought me out.

 

“Scripture tells us that some people suffer because of divine punishment, some for their faith, and some to save others.”

 

As I mentioned, my go to when looking into things like this is usually whatever pops up regarding the Bible first. What I found was, of course, that God allowed many people to suffer in the Bible. But what I hadn’t thought about were the reasons behind this. What I found on the YMI website was this, “Scripture tells us that some people suffer because of divine punishment, some for their faith, and some to save others.”

I don’t mean this to be a sermon, but of course we know that the suffering of Jesus was for us, the suffering of Job was to test his faith. But divine punishment? I couldn’t readily recall anything regarding divine punishment. After some research, and to avoid jumping religions, the “Great Flood” would be considered a divine punishment from God. 

 

“What are you suffering for?”

Besides the possibility of everlasting life, what could you possibly gain from the suffering of anyone? A will to survive. A passion to help and prevent this suffering from happening less and less, until you’ve found a symbolic or even literal vaccination for that suffering. Whether that suffering was put in place by God, or it is something that is a result of the Big Bang, wouldn’t being able to lessen that suffering contribute something greater to the Universe? And when I think about the people that I have lost, shouldn’t I gain something from their memory that encourages me to carry on and live my best life, so that I can help someone do the same? From my own personal suffering, should I see it though, I see myself speaking life into others who find themselves in a dark place.

Most people will suffer, and some suffering will be more than others. But I find comfort in the idea that some of that suffering is to help us live a better life. And some of that suffering is so that we can improve the lives of others. What are you suffering for?

RIP to my Great Uncle Aaron, who was the inspiration behind this post.

2017: The Year of Acceptance

When a new year starts it can be daunting to think about changing when you haven’t even accepted who or where you are. I would like to take a moment to work on a part of the Serenity Prayer that has always struck a cord with me:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

I know the new year is supposed to be about change. But this year, we may need to work on acceptance. This is a resolution that doesn’t get much recognition. There are so many people out there that are battling with their past, battling with their present, battling with their thoughts. Before you can change you need to accept that you are the person you are meant to be. There are some things about yourself that you just can’t change and need to be accepted and embraced to allow you to have a clear head. There is power in accepting who you are. When you truly accept who you are no one can tear you down for being gay, straight, transitioning, dark-skinned, light-skinned, Jewish or Atheist. You’ll begin to find power in those things that once were a sore spot for you.

Even things that can be improved upon can deserve some acceptance. Things like weight loss and mental illness are just a couple of things that also require acceptance. Accept that you are beautiful and capable no matter what. So that when you don’t have the energy or the drive to get things completed the way you would have hoped, you don’t allow it to consume you. You are still capable of continuing and picking yourself up from exactly where you left off.

We also need to accept unexpected change as it comes. Things may not have worked out how you expected this past year. Try accepting those changes, think about what you may have learned or what you may have gained from those unexpected changes and experiences. You can’t change the past any more than you can predict the future. Accept was has happened and do your best to make a brighter day, despite the difficulties you face.

Change is great but acceptance can be so powerful. Accept that you are who you were truly meant to be within. Any changes that come be they physical or metaphysical can only enhance what was already there in you all along. Accept who you are meant to be, challenges and all. Because if you are looking for change, it may not come easy. So accept the challenge. Change doesn’t have to be your only goal for 2017, and acceptance can be a catalyst.

**Do you have any things you are working on accepting in the new year or any goals you have set out? Drop them below! Your acceptance can help someone else!**