A dear friend sent me a message this morning, “Oh, Catherine! You are amazing to keep on going. It is such a mystery why the suffering isn’t shared around more evenly. You inspire me.”
This is what I have come to understand, and my belief is supported by my experience… and more so every day. The truth I know is rich and can be approached from many different angles. I will start from the angle of the desire for wisdom. I will use the scriptural story of Adam and Eve as a generalized version of my specific case.
“Work” was originally a simple tending of the garden to keep the food growing (Gen 2:15) and was in no way evil or a punishment. Once Adam and Eve chose to attain knowledge, God responded, okay, well then that changes things and is going to require a way for you to grow in that knowledge. What was ‘simple tending’ will now be hard and will require the removal of boulders and rocks and the pain of thorns and pests….because that is how you will get your nourishment and will continue to grow. You could have stayed simple and kept your lives simple, but you chose to grow in knowledge, so here’s how it works. God wasn’t mad and didn’t change man’s world in retribution; God changed man’s world to accommodate man’s desire to know more. God was likely proud of man for stepping out and, even though God (like all parents) wanted to cry because He knew man would have to feel the pains associated with growth, it was seen as a good thing.
I believe I chose this life. I believe I reaffirmed that choice when as a teenager I prayed for the wisdom so highly praised in scripture. I believe God said, okay, you know what that means.
But then I forgot. I forgot I prayed for it. I forgot I had chosen it. And for 61 years, I wondered why my life was so damned hard. Over the past year or so, I have been remembering.
I won’t lie; I did have a bit of a weep yesterday because I’ve been holding my daughter together for the past several years and yesterday, I was looking at my own situation as having been let down by doctors I had been counting on. My ‘small self’ was at the helm and she felt very small and beat up.
But I’m better now. When I can see how I am working with and within God’s hands, I feel safe and strong.
Suffering isn’t shared more evenly because some of us have begged for the harder life…to gain the more wisdom. Now, my job is to let go of this attachment to (and joy from) my awareness of my being especially blessed…and to move on.
(Take it, Jesus. Thank You.)