The Extra Stencils have arrived...it must be WINTER.
"I had to ask myself: Why shouldn't I avoid suffering? What's in it for me, for anyone? It's a fair question. And the answer I came up with was this: By being present for suffering, we become present for the whole of life, not just the niceties. And the reward is nothing less than the ability to love fully. This is not a philosophical point. It is a most pragmatic, palpable benefit and the only one that really means anything after all. When I think of all the things I did as a young adult to make myself "happy," all the risks I took, all the hurt I created in myself and others -- all in the name of happiness, I literally shudder. I rarely actually felt happy and almost never felt deep love. The mantra "whatever makes you happy" ran my life but gave me nothing but heartache.
I am reminded of a book C.S. Lewis wrote ("The Four Loves") in which he said (and I paraphrase): If you would love you would suffer. We cannot even love a dog without at one point or another feeling the pain of loss, assuming we outlive the dog. The greatest of all things -- love -- is itself most intimately bound with suffering. It is a poignant irony, I think...
Unfortunately, in this world what binds us together and what gives us meaning is a complex amalgam of emotions and experiences. It's not all skipping through the park. People get sick. We get hurt. We make mistakes. We are fallen. And we cannot save ourselves. I am convinced of that. It is always someone else's hand -- God's, a spiritual adviser's, a friend's, a spouse's, a parent's -- that reaches in to pull us out. This is life. " -Judith Acosta