Friday, August 27, 2010

More on the meaning of suffering

Facebook friends will have seen my recent update with the quote from Viktor Frankl on the meaning of suffering. "Suffering ceases to be suffering in some way at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of sacrifice. . . ‎In accepting this challenge to suffer bravely, life has meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally to the end. In other words, life's meaning is an unconditional one, for It even includes the potential meaning of suffering." -Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor and author of Man's Search for Meaning). When I read this, considering all the crap I have had to deal with the past 4 months, or so, I just started to bawl. This was a man that suffered in Auschwitz saying this, and here I am suffering in my own little "garden" (which I am not minimizing at all, but it is not a concentration camp, after all), expressing such courage and strength about pain and challenges. I am on this search for meaning. (That sounds so chivalrous! "a quest for the meaning of suffering.")
In thinking about all of this, I am reminded of a quote that a friend sent me when all this first started. Hopefully, I will someday reach this point where I can recognize the growth I have made and look back on all of it and say, "Wow, that really wasn't that bad after all! Look at me now!!!"
"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God....and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulations, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven...." ~Orson F. Whitney


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