Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dealing With Pain in Life

Mind healing, how we can heal our minds and hearts of the hurts we have suffered, was the topic of a recent desk column commentary by the editor-in-chief of the Catholic Times.  Many in today's society are hurting: wars, family and individual conflicts, cultural prejudice, workplace and educational injustices, and a host of other situations that inflict much pain. We all have to live with these painful situations every day; the only difference among them is their size. But to say that my pain is greater than yours, he says, is an attitude that makes no sense. The way we face the pain is what is important.

Some people, in the face of the pain, close their hearts and become angry and hateful, while others, precisely because of their pain, open their hearts with a better understanding of the suffering of others. To live with others is difficult; we are likely to discover aspects of ourselves we would prefer not to see.  An example would be when we see another person, completely unrelated to us, who is happy, which tends to make us acutely aware of our own unhappiness.

We can define life, he says, as a time of waiting.  The psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm tells us that humans can be described as creatures that look upward and forward to a future time, waiting for a better person to emerge and for better opportunities, waiting for their dreams to be realized, waiting for the end of their suffering.

That we wait mindlessly, he says, is the problem. What are we waiting for and and how is it important to us? are questions we need to ask ourselves.He suggests that what is important to all Christians is the consolation of family and friends. More so would be the consolation that comes from God. Also helpful is to realize that we tend to imitate those we admire and think about, and to realize that faith is also a kind of waiting, which we can see illustrated by the Scriptures.

Those that have received consolation in their suffering are the ones who can share it with others who are suffering. He mentions the tragic incident of a mother who had lost a child in an accident. Though many tried to console the mother, they were unable to do so, the tears kept coming. It was only when a friend, a mother who lost her own daughter in such an accident, approached the grieving mother with a hug that the tears stopped.  

There is a direct ratio of  pain to consolation. The greater the pain, the greater is God's consolation.  We have the example of our martyrs, whose faith and trust grew because of  God's  promises; suffering  sublimates into great hope.

All those who are suffering are walking in the way of Jesus. Let us experience his outstretched hand. Like the sun that is always there in the sky even when hidden by clouds, God is always with us,  offering us the consolation we are seeking. 

No comments:

Post a Comment