I’ve been thinking, actually no, I’ve been feeling lately about great opposites, mostly love and suffering. It is sort of like buying a pair of shoes that at first glance don’t seem to match at all. Yet, the longer you wear them, stare at them, feel them, you realize they are indeed a pair of shoes that must be worn together. For most of my life I have tried to avoid wearing the shoe of suffering.
Sometimes tragic events and the victims’ responses seem to shake my soul. When I read how the man in New Zealand said he forgave his wife’s killer and at the bottom of the article it referred to a father forgiving his daughter’s killer, I thought “Where does such love come from? How do they wear the shoes of suffering so gracefully?”
You would think I would have the perfect example, in Jesus’ life, to understand the relationship of love and suffering. Nope, didn’t get it. Got wrapped up in right versus wrong. The Chinese shared it with me with the symbol of yin and yang. Nope, I sort of just trivialized it. Even nature, when living at 40 degree North Latitude, tried to teach me through the dark and cold of winter followed by the warmth and resurrection of spring. Nah, just complained about the weather.
I have often, almost unconsciously, felt this opposite thing along the way of life though – sometimes even at the end of someone’s life. I felt the love freely poured out for the grievers by people who mostly kept such emotions to themselves. From suffering appeared great love. Often times a reunion of hearts takes place at a death bed, a funeral or a celebration of life … hearts that had been separated by years of neglect, busyness, or old hurt feelings. Love centers around suffering, it seems.
In my own life, feeling the sting of recent losses, I have felt incredible love from so many people. The kind of love that challenges you to change how you view life. I see this also with people who have faced serious health issues, often cancer survivors. Even years after regaining their health, they have changed. They are more authentic, more courageous, more loving. You can feel it.