What is suffering? Is it physical pain? Or the way that one’s mind can torture the soul? Or learn and grow from it?
This year brought a new light to the meaning of suffering. Cancer reveals all shades of grey.
But the question remains, how do we deal with our own suffering and the suffering of others?
Think about it. When something bad happens to you, how do you help yourself? Blame G-d? Explain there was and is nothing you can do? Tell yourself you had it coming? Blame your lack of foresight? We all create a way to cope. However, when dealing with your friend’s emotional suffering, we want to do anything but blame them. Daniel Foley explains his interpretation of the 11 attitudes toward personal suffering: punitive, testing, bad luck, submission to the laws of nature, resignation to the will of God, acceptance of the human condition, personal growth, defensive, minimizing, divine perspective, and redemptive. We have probably all done one of these before.
Cancer and illness reveals financial suffering, physical suffering, the feeling of isolation, abandonment…each person has their own story. The suffering of a child loosing a parent, a parent loosing a child, and all of the memories that burst through the gates of hell when one faced with illness or hardship. Making a bad choice, even saying the wrong thing…it’s the ebb and flow of suffering.
How do we cope with tormented minds?
Many people walk around numb. Many walk around drugging themselves on TV or mindless activities. That’s okay. We have to get by.
I would suggest taking a pen and paper, or an objective silent friend, and discussing everything until you find an outlet to your underlying emotional pain. It’s okay to feel pain, and feel your mind caving in as you try to keep reestablishing your own emotional identity.
*”Suffer Well,” (C) A friend of mine, MG.