Reflections on redeeming personal hardship
This is a meaningful read, thank you for writing it. I hope your week ahead is smoother.
All external events and circumstances are just the raw materials we have to work with. Our job is to do our best with the materials in front of us, no matter what they are. It sounds like you're using it for good, which is all anyone can expect. Like Marcus said: “Death and life, success and failure, pain and pleasure, wealth and poverty, all these happen to good and bad alike, and they are neither noble nor shameful – and hence neither good nor bad.”
Dear Alexandra. I've been trying to comment on this ... well... exceptional article for three days. It was not only written with such style, it hit home in a very good way. I have an understanding with suffering from several different experiences in my six plus decades of traveling around old Sol. I've had family members (an only sibling plus my mom and dad) go through some pretty tough stuff that very few people (at least the ones I know) would have made it like they did. Personally, I've had the 'gift of Parkinson's' for over twenty years. And I do consider it a gift, because you learn so much!! It also gives you a mission to do whatever it takes. This involves physical therapy five times a week. Neurofeedback with a Psychologist every two weeks. Then there are the daily home efforts. I walk seven days a week - lucky because I live near the shore of Lake Michigan in what we call the Little Finger of Michigan, about sixty miles south of the Upper Peninsula or two miles north of the 45th parallel. The trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park have become holy healing for me. I do all this to be self sufficient so that I can 1) nor be a burden to others and 2) do everything I can to help others. My friend Mary, my sister and I recently finished the transcription of eighteen hours of tape. It was an interview done by Lt. Colonel Carol Erich Ph.D. whose subject was my father. Her dissertation was on why some POWs survived their experiences while others did not. She picked my dad because he was in the Pacific Theater of WWII and was one of the Defenders of Bataan. April 9, 2022 is the 80th anniversary of the surrender of Bataan. He participated in the Bataan Death March, was imprisoned in the infamous Camp O'Donnell where they buried two hundred plus American GIs a day and a thousand Filipino soldiers. His last prison camp was in Japan, Roshu Roki, 25 files miles from Hiroshima. He was there August 6th, 1945 when we dropped the bomb. We published the transcription that went live this week under the title Faithful: Because of Love A True Story of the Survival of the Defenders of Bataan (Amazon type in - Faithful Clement Charles). We wanted the world to hear his voice. 1) Very apropos for what is happening in our world with Ukraine and 2) a beautiful example of surviving a 'suffering' that like all service men who've seen action, never ends. A promo is available on youtube at https://youtu.be/bjp05-DjfBU. Please, keep writing! Your words/your style are just well... at least to me yet another great gift!
"Now many events happen by chance, and events differing in importance; small pieces of good fortune or of its opposite clearly do not weigh down the scales of life one way or the other, but a multitude of great events if they turn out well will make life happier (for not only are they themselves such as to add beauty to life, but the way a man deals with them may be noble and good), while if they turn out ill they crush and maim happiness; for they both bring pain with them and hinder many activities. Yet even in these nobility shines through, when a man bears with resignation many great misfortunes, not through insensibility to pain but through nobility and greatness of soul."
To suffer nobly is an extension of the skill of living well and doing well. The art of life is most impressed on us and our peers by how we live nobly thru tragedy, not how we live thru our successes. Yet our character determines our successes, but it is our sufferings which ennoble our character. Can we be noble without suffering? Doubtful. Suffering brings along in its train of heartache a share of wisdom equal to the pain. Therefore, we do not avoid the pain of the crucible, but rather we accept is as a messenger of our future selves.
Thank you for sharing such great and thoughtful insight. Suffering indeed promotes self-growth. Often we forget that in our relentless pursuit of happiness - which for most Americans is almost like an entitlement to happiness, we learn that happiness & joy are in the process of living our lives- a journey so to speak. Suffering provides us with the ability to truly define personal happiness as well as joy. I hope things are much better today. In fact, I am sure they are, because you now have clarity.
I have found the almost immediate inner response from adversity has been exhaustion from trying to control the outcome or the helplessness of the situation. Once I couldn't eat or sleep either it was torture. Other times when the outcome was resolved the relief sent me back to my ways of self comfort and routine rather that truly changing.
Thanking God for His will with answer to prayer is truly accepting any answer.
A moving read. Thank you. I hope you regain your inner peace. Thanks for showing your steadiness and sharing your processing. It is helpful.
THIS is sensational and I have passed it to several people! Our family has suffered nearly innumerable losses since 2019 so this was SO timely. Thank you for your thoughtful contemplation. GO FORTH AND CONQUER!