2008 Snow Pictures 045Feeling physical or mental pain from distress; loss, injury, harm; life challenges

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 requires us to experience, endure, and overcome suffering as part of our continued development. A person who has not experienced and triumphed over a personal suffering continues to be inexperienced, immature and underdeveloped in an important aspect of life. Until we have suffered, endured, and overcome sufficiently; we continue to be under-experienced in Life’s ultimate proving grounds, Life itself. It is a right of passage. Trials and tribulations do await us. We cannot avoid them. We must embrace them and learn from them.

   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 many different stages requiring us to work through them in order to grow into experienced mature adults. Unlike formal education, much of Life’s informal learning is unstructured and personalized. Each of us has a customized curriculum and very personalized learning curves.  

   Our trials, tribulations, failures, mistakes and our poor decisions are all part of our ongoing educational process. We must experience such things as sickness, death, financial difficulty, loss of employment and other such challenges in order to grow and truly mature as an adult. In some ways this is similar to the course work of elementary, middle school, and high school. It is a part of our much more advanced educational training. What all of us have in common is we must experience the sufferings that Life presents to us. We must journey through these experiences, learn and hopefully triumph. We must do this on our own and at our own pace.

    Suffering is something we are not likely to ever master. It will be ongoing and continuous. True growth comes when we are able to separate ourselves from our suffering and see it objectively; a naturally occurring aspect of life. Each time we experience it, we should do better. We should be able to observe ourselves, how we handle things, the lessons learned, and then be able to become a little stronger and wiser for the experience. Mastery comes as we are able to experience it and increasingly minimize its emotionally painful effects. We suffer, learn, regroup, then become more experienced and wiser. We are learning to live our life with more and more “gusto.”

Challenge: We will all experience our personal share of suffering during Life. It is not something we can avoid. It is something to be managed and mastered to the best of our ability. 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 everything that happens to you. How you handle your suffering is no different. Learn to manage and 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

Spiritual Food for Thought:

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

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 absolutely assured we will experience trials and tribulations in our life. Some of these things will bring us down very low, sometimes making us wonder how we can ever overcome them. God is always there, willing and waiting to help us through anything and everything that happens to us. His hand is always reaching out to us.

Prayer:  Thank you for giving me the strength to live and grow through my sufferings.


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