Suffering the loss of a loved one is so painful. Watching other people suffer in the extreme, like in refugee situations, is really hard, too. We humans ask, “Why? Why, God? Can’t You do something?” When our close friends lose someone they love and we know they are suffering deeply, we often don’t know what to say or do. Suffering is torture.
Yet, to suffer is to grow. The pain takes us inside ourselves—there are no adequate answers outside—and through this diving for answers, we gain wisdom. Older people generally don’t wail and pound walls because they’ve seen enough hurricanes and floods, fires and tornadoes and the ensuing damage, to know that loss can strike anyone, anytime. They’ve seen enough people cross over to the other side to know that the demise of our loved ones happens to everyone.
We take on physical bodies to ‘know ourselves,’ to learn what is important to us and where those things lay on the ‘What’s real?’ scale. The ‘real scale’ measures value to the soul and relationship with God. It highlights any warped attachments to our loved ones, to our intelligence and gifts, our opinions and judgments of others, our plans for our lives, and our desire for illusory material goods—illusory because nothing on earth really belongs to us. It all belongs to God and to the Earth. We humans come and go with the blink of an eye; our time here is far too short to claim anything for ourselves.
The weird part is, it’s our weaknesses, our problems and our losses, that cause us to seek the answers that can only come from within, from our souls or higher selves. Life is like when we ask our kids, “We can do this the hard way or the easy way. Which is it?” Being born on Earth is definitely growing the hard way. I guess we may be the most stubborn of the universe’s souls, and maybe this expression on a bumper sticker is true: “Earth: Dumping ground for the insane.” Surely, at times it seems true. Think of all the wars alone, of racism and religious intolerance. I mean, how could you possibly know what spiritual path I should take, and how could I ever dictate yours?
My friend, Anita, says, “Don’t get bitter; get better.” Each time we come to a fork in the road we can answer the call of our souls–or the call of our bitter selves. Suffering hurts, and we must allow a period for grieving, however long it takes. Then we can transform the pain into healing wisdom and help others we meet along the way.