As we head into November and the year starts drawing to a close, I can’t help looking back over this last year and seeing how much I have learned.
My prayer this year was ‘Teach me how to suffer…’. I have been particularly interested in the relationship suffering has with other things especially love, and fear. I think I would even go as far to say that in terms of suffering, love and fear are polar opposites.
In practical terms, I have certainly had to face these things over this year. I am ashamed of my lack of courage in regards to my husband’s illness. He is a much braver person than me. But I have also come to the understanding that it can be much harder to watch a loved one suffer and walk along side them when there is nothing you can do to take that suffering away. That is a heartbreak I still cannot come to terms with. I would give anything to be the one who is suffering rather than to watch helplessly from the outside. But of course in a marriage, if one spouse suffers, the other suffers too.
Mary has been with me in a special way this year. She has taught me that when I hold the Rosary it is really her holding my hand, and I should be like a sunflower – always turning to face the sun (her Son).
Mary had to help her Son walk towards the cross for 33 years. And at the end of those 33 years she stood beneath the cross and supported Him as he died. Her courage and selflessness are things I need to learn. She once said to a friend of mine “If I can stand at the foot of the cross, then so can you.”
Suffering can be scary. We are all hopelessly attached to comfort. I would go as far as to say that our attachment to comfort
doubles no, triples the fear we associate with suffering. I am certainly guilty of this. My attachment to money, health, and carefree living has certainly been exposed, but I have at least taken the first step and stopped running, and have turned round to face my attachment to comfort. Everybody wants an easy life…
I sit and contemplate all these things and then think myself ever so clever for rationalizing it all. But what good is that?! I still need to put the simple truths into action. Love is greater than fear. Love conquers all things.
But love is not easy. Love can sometimes be a very bitter pill to swallow. Pray for me…