Tuesday, July 15, 2008

suffering

It's been a hard month for some people we know and love. Someone's father died, another friend suffered a stillbirth after years of trying to have a baby. Another person close to us gave birth to twin preemies, only to lose them both a week later.
Meanwhile, my family is able to go about our lives, go to the pool and beach, sleep in, and enjoy our daughter. I went shopping. I'm cooking fish for dinner.
I'm not quite sure what to do with the news I'm hearing.
I'm not quite sure how the world keeps swirling around and around, with me happily hanging on.
I'm not quite sure how to be a help and a comfort to my friends when I have not gone through the experiences they are.
I was walking to a friends' house for a playgroup this morning, and thinking about the pain these dear ones are going through. Wondering why on earth it has attached itself to people that are so undeserving of it. Some of these people have already suffered other hardships--broken relationships, failed businesses, depression, separation from loved ones. In my own life, I see how sometimes trouble seems to attach itself to people--through no fault of their own, they suffer setback after loss after disappointment after tragedy. I don't understand why.

Well, I have theories. The Bible talks about the "present darkness" we're in, and how there are forces at work that we don't always see or understand. Seeing all this suffering going on in my periphery makes me conscious of these malevolent spiritual forces all over again.

I can't look at these hardships and have my faith unaffected. Dyami and I were praying for our friends yesterday, and I could hear the bewilderment in his voice as he asked God why they are suffering. When my dear, steadfast husband is bewildered with God, things aren't good.

At playgroup, a group member, Megan, shared some materials she brought. She had the fabulous idea of us all getting a "sister" overseas to correspond with and support. She had done so previously, in an organization called Women For Women, and asked if we wanted to participate. The organization provides support for survivors of war. We all said yes, and today she brought the information for our sister.

She lives in Congo, and has six children, and has lost a seventh. No electricity in her hut, displaced within her country, unable to afford medical care for her family. No jobs available to help increase her family's means.

Somehow I wished I already had a correspondance with this woman, to ask how she copes with the obstacles she faces. How do people all over the world who suffer such losses continue to have faith, to sing and dance and serve in the midst of it all? For there are those shining people. People persecuted for their faith who prepare to share it anyway, despite the dangers. People persecuted who have great courage in their suffering. People in war who help others, despite great personal risk. There are those, like these women, are handed a bum deck of cards and yet do things like reach out to an NGO in the hope of some help and support. Who keep moving forward, doing what needs to be done for their families.

I often feel I have a charmed life (sometimes this feeling has me ducking, waiting for the other shoe to drop) but never more so than this morning. Sometimes it seems to me as though our odd middleclassness in the United States is itself an anomaly, our way of life, our expectation of safety and health and education and control is the abnormal thing in our world.

I was glad to be sistering this woman today. Perhaps if we are all a bit more acquainted with suffering, we can be of help for those close to us who are going through it.

Perhaps that has to be enough for me right now--since understanding and enlightenment as to why this all happens is a very open question for me right now.

2 comments:

thefamilyedge said...

Well said, sister. I wish you didn't have to search for such poignant words to explain your feelings on this. But I'm glad you have them because you do.

writermeeg said...

H, I'm welled up reading this. I haven't visited in a while and it's nice to catch up (and I'm honored to be sponsoring with you). Sending prayers for your friends, too. And sharing your bewilderment and sense of faith at once, all the contradictions. See you soon, MPK