A person who has suffered deeply and triumphed is now a better person. Precisely because of pain and suffering, his life story is better. He has forged character; he has become more human. – Leo Tolstoy
Which do you think is harder, to go through something difficult yourself, or watch someone you love go through it? The last several years have not always been easy. Besides my accident happening in 1994, my father was diagnosed with lung disease in 2009 (asbestos exposure because he worked in construction when he was young).
I spent just as much time in the hospital that year with my dad (and mom) as I did in 1994. It felt like more. My mother was ill in 2007. Let’s just say, it’s been a whirlwind. My mom and dad getting sick is the second worst thing that ever happened to me, maybe even the first.
I’ve really become accustomed to doctors. I’ll never forget one of my dad’s attending doctors in the ER. After talking with me about my dad’s condition for around ten minutes, “Oh, you’re his daughter. I thought you were his physician!” he said. My parents and I got a kick out of that. Yes, I like the language and how doctors sound very smart, it’s just not something I choose – to hang out with them all the time : )
The two most special people in my life got sick. Wait God. How could this be? I’m not even healed, and now you’re going to take my mom and dad from me? I threw my hands up in the air at times. Feeling helpless.
I soon realized whose daughter I was. Because people tell me I have a lot of faith but man, these two – their faith even shocked me! Usually they’re well, going to church and about their daily activities, they’ve always been social.
But last Friday my dad went into the hospital, again. It was the same day as the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. What a week of pain and agony. For everyone. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I can’t even imagine the grief. I believe those little ones with their teachers are in heaven; conducting their classroom in the glory and making of our Lord Almighty. Gone but never forgotten.
All of this tragedy has caused me to reflect. And I’ve been reading. In 2009 I bought a book called “The Promise: God’s Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts” by Father Jonathan Morris. He’s a religious news analyst and commentator for FOX news. He was also an advisor to Mel Gibson during the making of The Passion of the Christ.
His book was published in 2009 after three back to back tragedies: the Asian Tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake, and the hurricane in New Orleans. He teaches about the coexistence of God and suffering. His book helped console me in rough times. So I pulled it out. “Jesus is in our corner, in our suffering he’s in our room” he writes. I have always felt that. In all the fear and anguish, I’ve always felt God with me, holding my hand, leading me, telling me the next step to take, the next move.
“A person who has suffered deeply and triumphed is now a better person. Precisely because of pain and suffering, his life story is better. He has forged character; he has become more human.”
My dad has been out of the hospital for a few days now and I thank God he is alright.
But this is a question from Father Jon’s book I wanted to leave with you:
“How can I transform my suffering into a springboard for personal growth?”
Not that our suffering will ever be rational or make sense, but what can we do to better our life despite circumstances that are not so bright?
Feel free to share your comments with me in the notes..