Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Suffering is optional

I've been seeing this quote around a lot lately...
"Suffering Is Optional"
Is it?  Is it really?

 In a lot of ways, I feel like the last three months have been an extended lesson in suffering and that is so frustrating.  One would think that after all we have been through, survived, overcome, battled; a little weight loss and breathing problems wouldn't be the proverbial straw.

It hit me, as I have pondered on this notion, that God doesn't just give us the same old problem twice.  His plan is never under revision or sending us back to try again, he wants us moving forward, growing, expanding.  I don't see God as some high strung school teacher, with an arsenal of punishments if we don't do our problems right the first time. Everything God does, builds upon the thing before, including trials.

So, even though it feels like the trials with Spencer are nothing new and look an awful lot like other problems from the past, there must be something different to learn.  It's probably okay that some days are harder to face than others but with the hard days, I can't help but dwell on how I fail myself, my kids, my God.  I can't help but think I know better, my faith is stronger, my hope brighter so why the struggle?

If suffering is optional, I guess you need to know what suffering is so you can make an informed choice if you want to suffer or not.  Suffering, as Buddha defines it nothing more than attachment.  Attached to what you think something should be.   When life turns out to be something different, even's hard to accept we suffer as we try to make sense of the difference and find words to fit the feelings we weren't expecting.

Clearly, I have been attached to what I wanted life to be.  I thought that post mission life would be filled with a continuation of a spiritual high but in reality, we have been bogged down in suffering, in poor health, in grief; this overwhelming sadness for what is and what we had hoped it would be.

Part of the angst that goes along with this whole premise is that the very phrase, suffering is optional, sounds so easy!   It doesn't sound any harder than deciding between a shot of Novocaine at the dentist for your filling or not!   It's a no brainer but when it comes to the option of suffering or isn't something you decide once and you're done.  It's a decision you make each minute, each hour, each and every part of the day in the world of dyskertosis congenita.

I guess if I was being totally honest, I'm still having a hard time adjusting to the fact that we even have this wretched disease after all...I'm still grappling with words to describe the feelings that come day after day, all the ways this disease has changed us; left us vulnerable. Exhausted.

But, at the end of the day...I think I am understanding more about suffering and choosing at least to be open to something different than suffering.  In all of this, I am learning about my Savior too; that he took upon himself our pains, afflictions AND suffering...I guess we forget that suffering is part of this mortal journey, the riot and rift between our physical experience and spiritual experience.  I can see that there is much to be learned in this moment regardless of my choice to suffer...or not.


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