To become the spectator of one’s own life is to escape the suffering of life. Oscar Wilde
Wisdom comes alone through suffering. Aeschylus
Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. Helen Keller
Life does require that we experience, endure, and overcome suffering as part of our continued growth and development. A person who has not experienced and then triumphed over a personal suffering continues to be inexperienced and immature. Until each of us have suffered, endured, and overcome sufficiently; we continue to be an adolescent in Life’s ultimate proving grounds, Life itself. It is a right of passage. It always awaits us. We cannot avoid it. We must embrace it, must learn from it and take it in stride.
Learning to ride a bicycle, drive a car, play a sport; all require a period of learning, failing, trying again, and ultimately arriving at some degree of mastery. Almost everything we learn requires initial effort, a learning curve, and ultimately achieving a degree of success. Life has these same stages that we must work our way through in order to grow into mature adults. Unlike our formal education, much of Life’s required learning is unstructured and individualized. Each of us has a customized curriculum and very personalized learning curve.
Our trials, tribulations, failures, mistakes and our poor decisions are all part of our educational process. We will experience such things as sickness, death, financial difficulty, loss of employment and others in order to grow and truly mature as a human being. In some ways it is similar to the course work of elementary, middle school, and high school. It is a part of our advanced adult education training. What we have in common is that we must all experience the suffering that Life brings to us. We must journey through these experiences and their learning opportunities on our own and at our own pace.
Suffering is not something we will likely ever master. It is an ongoing and continuous learning experience. True growth comes when we are able to separate ourselves from our suffering and see it for what it is; a naturally occurring aspect of life. Each time we experience it, we should get better at it. We should be able to observe ourselves, how we handling things, the lessons to be learned, and then to become a little stronger and wiser for the experience. Mastery comes as we are experience it and increasingly minimize its harmful effects. We suffer, learn, regroup and become more experienced and wiser. We should then go on to live Life with more “gusto.”
Challenge: You will experience your share of suffering during your lifetime. It is not something that can be avoided. It is something to be managed and mastered as you grow and mature. Learn to look at this as objectively as possible. It is only as personal to you as you allow it to be. You are in charge and responsible for how you react to anything that happens to you. How you handle suffering is no different. Learn to master it.
Wisdom: If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your estimation of it, and this you have the power to revoke at any moment… Marcus Aurelius
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:19
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors though him that loves us. Romans 8:37
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Isaiah 40:29
The more we can let go and let God empower us, the more we can find strength to handle life’s adversities. We can be assured that we will experience trials and tribulations in our life. Some of these things can bring us down very low, sometimes making us wonder how we will ever overcome them. God is always there, willing and waiting to help us through anything and everything that can happen to us. We must ask him to help us.
Prayer: Thank you for giving me the strength to live and grow through my sufferings.