Suffering, Part 2 of 5

The second in a series of reflections on one of the chiefest themes of the Lenten season and of life


We all suffer. No one can avoid it. Unless, if possible, we retreat from life, enter no relationships, make no choices. (Although even these drastic measures cannot guarantee the avoidance of suffering.)

We all suffer. Suffering is the grand equalizer. No matter our family of origin, culture or creed, race or ethnicity, life’s aims and achievements, and material status.

We all suffer. Suffering is the great leveler. Exposing as fictitious our deepest, most privately rehearsed claims (dare we think it!) of our omnipotence and, if not that, then our fondest imaginings of our omnicompetence.

We all suffer. Be it physical; imprisoned in pain so severe and constant that release is a distant memory and relief and restoration seem vain hopes. Or social; isolated from others. Or psychological; alienated from ourselves. Or spiritual; in fear of death. Or all of this and more than we dare to conceive or, if, when conceiving, can find language to convey.

We all suffer. Sometimes to an extent that every dimension of a fulfilling life is threatened. Our sense of health and well being. Our freedom of movement. Our opportunities for vital relationships with others and with ourselves. Our awareness of having time to anticipate, to await tomorrow’s promise.

We all suffer. As this is so, a determined, at times, desperate longing of life is to search for a (any) sense of suffering. For without striving to make meaning (if such can be discerned) of this constant element of life we risk madness.

More to come…

© 2021 PRA

2 thoughts on “Suffering, Part 2 of 5

  1. Paul!

    These first two installments have been awesome for me!! Suffering is absolutely the great leveler & equalizer!! I’ve spent years making meaning of my suffering… one way I’ve done that is to REALLY appreciate the moments and days when there was no suffering. On those days the grass seemed greener, the sky more blue etc. On the days I was suffering I visualized my days of no suffering in attempt to get me through. I really appreciated your mention of the word madness because there were days that the pain was so bad I did think I’d go bad.

    During the suffering of being alone during the pandemic I’ve traveled in my mind back to some of my favorite travels via the thousands of photos I’ve taken. That kept the madness away too!!

    Much love!


  2. Loretta, I love your reflections on your suffering…

    I, surely and of course, do not love the reality of your suffering. That you suffered…

    Nevertheless, your power (ability and willingness) to behold the beauty, the greater beauty of those days when your suffering subsided, and then, during these ongoing days of pandemic physical-distancing and isolation, to embark upon your inner journey of remembrance of blessed travels undertaken and enjoyed are powerful witnesses to and for me of hope; being that ability to perceive what is not yet in the face of what is. Remarkable and encouraging to me and to all!



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