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In the Light of Suffering

April 25, 2014




“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison


We all suffer. Each of us carries the weight of our own brokenness. And yet, we live in a culture that would have us believe that there is something wrong with anyone who is not “happy” and “successful”, as evidenced by what we have accomplished. Intricately woven into our notion of happiness is the underlying assumption that to be happy we must do all of the right things. In other words, if we are suffering, then we are doing something wrong. The increasing popularity of “how to” articles and books point to our incessant need for improving upon who we are.

No matter how many psycho/spiritual practices we incorporate into our days, while I do not discount their value and importance in living a conscious life, they can never take away the suffering and pain of our human existence. What if instead of trying to do the right thing, or think the right thought to manage and control our pain, we chose instead to lean into our suffering, and allow it to transform us? Our very personal  and intimate pain and suffering has the power to chisel away our veneer, to rip apart our armor and peel away our mask. In doing so, it drives us directly to the core of ourselves, the essence of life. Suffering need not destroy us if we allow it to do its work in forging strength, character and wisdom.

Dorothy Sander ©2014

9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2014 1:29 am

    Sometimes the suffering is hidden behind a brave face. I know this to be true.

  2. April 26, 2014 3:57 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. As a matter a fact, I am currently reading “Happiness is a Choice” for about the 3rd time, since lately I’ve been battling a bit of unexplained depression. Christians oftentimes feel guilty for feeling sad or depressed and think it’s wrong to not always be joyful and happy. Not true. I believe it’s best to face what we are struggling with head on and confront our suffering with honesty – which will bring clarity.

    • April 28, 2014 12:20 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts. Depression is sometimes chemical, sometimes situational, sometimes a little bit of both. Always a challenge. Sometimes the only thing to do is to mentally step back from ourselves and observe the suffering it is causing and affirm that yes, it does exist, but it is not all that we are. We are so much more than our depression.

  3. April 28, 2014 10:36 am

    Thank you Dorothy


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