"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


A Deep Breath.

I spend alot of time listening to other people's stories. And then another significant measure watching and reading other people's stories. The majority of these stories are sad, and frustrating, and frightening, at many turns, deeply disturbing. And so I find myself a bit weighed down most of the time. Sometimes very, very weighed down. So I watch less crime drama, and stop reading about war. I look for jobs working with refugees, with orphans, with prisoners, with veterans, in hospitals, in hopes of proactivity lessening my burden. I go back to work, and offer advice rather than listening as I should. I look for something outside myself--relationships, activities, uninvolved work, religion-- or something more deeply inside myself--meditation, focus, hope--to offer support. But I am too practical and cannot shake my feelings of responsibility to my fellow man, or my guilt at not giving enough, or at allowing my heart to get in the way.

I wish, oh how I wish, I was able to fully believe in something. At times I find myself envying some of my patients, because they can say with utmost certainty (however delusional it may be) to God speaks to them, and knows them, and has a purpose for them and for their suffering. But I cannot see this most of the time. This week I have watched a television show about child soldiers, read a story about the irreparable harm done to prisoners put in solitary confinement or by the social isolation of homelessness, and listened to scores of stories about desperation, and destitution, and deprivation. And I sleep less, and work more, and make an attempt at prayer, and contemplate another tattoo, or a drum, or an angsty pair of shoes. And I think about the possibility of God actually working that way. Of having a purpose for every person and every horrible occurrence, at hope coming from despair, and joy from sadness. I take a deep breath and I step off to begin a new day. And I hope that belief can come from wanting. That peace can come from belief.

1 comment:

violet said...

Casey, one of the best books I've read to help with the confusion of suffering is Streams in the Desert by LB Cowman. It helps reconcile a loving, just God with a really messed up world. God's original plan included no sickness, pain or evil in the Garden of eden. Yet, he gave humans free will because He wanted us to love Him by choice. Then, free will hit the fan and everything got mixed up. Pain and suffering are the natural results of the fall. God does not cause them, but He does allow them and promises to use them for our good if we love Him. He also accompanies us through the struggle and He sent Jesus to live as a human so that He would fully understand our condtion. We have a high priest who understands our struggles.

I enjoy reading your thoughts!