Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Suffering: Sign Me Up.

Even though I have yet to finish Inner Voice of Love, I decided to purchase a couple more Nouwen books from Amazon (by the way, I am loving ordering super inexpensive books from amazon.com - not an endorsement).  The books I chose were Turn My Mourning Into Dancing and Making All Things New.  I began reading Turn My Mourning Into Dancing yesterday evening afterwork.  Immediately, I experienced the wow factor that always comes when I read the insights of Henri Nouwen.

I am halfway through this book already, not rushing to finish, but so intrigued by Nouwen's insights on suffering that I simply cannot put the book down.  I even woke up at 4am this morning and drank a couple cups of coffee while reading more of the book.  four.in.the.morning.  Yes, this is a great book, indeed.

Any insight or emotion or memory that I realize while reading, I instantly write down because I don't want to forget.  Writing it all down makes it concrete and lasting, and there is so much I am realizing while reading that I don't want to fade away.  I am gaining a new perspective and understanding of suffering, my suffering, in relation to the world around me and the world above me.  The ideas of grace, acceptance, love, pain, patience...I am understanding what each truly means and how they are all so connected.  I feel like a haze in my life has just lifted.

This isn't the first I've heard about suffering.  A few months back, during a meeting with my counselor, she said something to the effect of, "Look at your suffering as the suffering of the world, your suffering as a part of Jesus's suffering and how it bridges your path to Him."  "Um, nice try" is what I was thinking at the moment.  "Thanks for trying to make me feel better about this pain I am in, but I am in pain.  And I do not feel good."  Sitting in bed last night reading the exact same insight as my counselor expressed months ago, I understood that her words were not to make me feel better, they were not meant just for me.

Suffering and all that comes along with it is a staple in the discipline of Christianity.  I'm not suffering because I am a bad person or an ugly person or a damaged person, I am suffering because I am on a walk with God; I am suffering because I am wonderfully made by Him.  Suffering is not something to try to get rid of or to try and make better, suffering is the road to Christ.  And it is through suffering, not around it, that I come to know my authentic self, the self that Christ created and loves.

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