One must really have suffered oneself to help others.
– Mother Teresa
Suffering is the burning question that haunts generation after generation, trying to make sense of how senseless it feels. Everyone has something; no one is exempt. Millions and millions of people bear a weight of pain that even their closest friends can’t even imagine possible. But there it is, day after day, relentless, bottomless, seemingly endless.
I do not have space here to talk adequately about finding sense in suffering. That is the study of a lifetime. Many people more qualified have treated it at length. All I can speak to is one of the side effects that I have witnessed, and experienced in my own way.
Suffering brings depth, and when borne correctly, teaches compassion.
The people who have suffered the most, that I have met, are also the most deep, the most wise, and the most compassionate.
That doesn’t explain suffering away; it can’t. It merely gives us a positive outcome to strive for, if we can. We need to embrace our suffering. Keep our minds clear and our hearts open. Our suffering, as difficult as it is and as much as it hurts, will help us to help others, if we let it.
I want to be better at that. I want to take the sources of my pain, and instead of allowing them to fester and rankle and boil into anger and resentment, direct it towards becoming a better person, a better listener, a more compassionate friend, a deeper man. It’s crazy hard, but I’m going to do my best.