In our culture, the acceptance of pain and suffering is uncommon. Instead, we strive to avoid it and we don't even begin to share with one another the depth of it. If someone is suffering, we linger at the corners of their pain until it is over and then we relish in how that person has triumphed over tragedy. Or, if we know someone is suffering, we give things like flowers to cheer them up. Anything to help a person avoid the agony of pain. That being said, overcoming pain and suffering is important, and vital even, for hope to endure. However, the avoidence of suffering is life half lived.
I know many people who are afraid or unable to discuss what is hard in their own lives. Some are even unwilling to talk about the ugliness of our world. Their lives are colored with words like: wonderful, lovely, amazing. Again, take my dad as an example. I heard one person describe him to another by saying, "when you talk to him, you don't even notice that he's in a wheelchair." My dad has not always been in a wheelchair, and in many ways he has triumphed over his suffering. He is quite amazing and an inspiration to many. However, there is so much that he goes through on a day to day basis that no one sees and no one talks about. It's too ugly and too painful. I've seen some, but not all, of what he goes through. Especially the frustration he feels when his body will not cooperate with him. I cringe just thinking of it. He is suffering and often in pain every day of his life. Yet, most look for him to triumph over the suffering.
We all suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We all have pain. The tragedy is not sharing it. The tragedy is pretending it doesn't exist. The tragedy is letting others believe that our lives are okay and we don't need any help or comfort. We need one another to get through this life. We need our families, we need our friends and we need our God. Pain is inevitable and triumph is always a possibility but not always the reality. When I strive to live in reality it becomes clear that, without pain, life itself would not be possible.
"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:10) .